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(E  ROYAL  FUSILIERS 
N  THE  GREAT  WAR 


^£.?ffirJ-v;"i 


.  C.  O'NEILL 


k 


■ 


THE  ROYAL   FUSILIERS 
IN    THE    GREAT    WAR 


THE  ROYAL  FUSILIERS 
IN   THE   GREAT  WAR 


BY 

H.  C.  O'NEILL,  O.B.E. 


ILLUSTRATED 


LONDON-    WILLIAM    HEINEMANN 


Dedicated 

by 

HIS   MAJESTY'S    GRACIOUS    PERMISSION 

to 

KING    GEORGE    V. 

Colonel-in-Chief,  Royal  Fusiliers 


PREFACE 

To  the  army  the  subordinate  armies  are  the  units  ;  to 
the  sectional  armies,  the  army  corps  ;  to  the  army  corps, 
the  divisions ;  to  the  divisions,  the  brigades  ;  to  the 
brigades,  the  battalions.  Only  when  we  reach  the 
battalions  does  the  full  incidence  rest  upon  the  companies 
and  the  individuals  who  compose  them.  It  is  this  that 
constitutes  the  main  difficulty  of  writing  a  regimental 
history.  In  a  regiment  a  private  or  N.  CO.  is  not  X  Y  Z 
123456,  but  "  that  bandy-legged  little  chap  who  played 
the  fiddle,"  a  distinct  and  quite  human  personality. 
It  is  the  human  side  of  war  that  is  uppermost.  But  the 
historian  cannot  on  these  grounds  excuse  himself  from 
dealing  with  the  military  framework  into  which  these  men 
fitted.  The  stress  falls  in  this,  as  in  the  more  personal 
side  of  the  war,  upon  detail.  If  regimental  histories  were 
all  written  with  a  perfect  knowledge  of  detail,  the  history 
of  the  war  would  be  made  supremely  easy  for  those  who 
have  to  deal  with  operations  in  their  larger  aspect. 

But  in  the  case  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  the  historian  is 
faced  with  the  task  of  dealing  with  235,476  men  who 
fought  in  every  theatre,  except  Mesopotamia,  put  in  an 
appearance  at  almost  every  considerable  battle  of  the  war, 
and  whose  dead  numbered  21,941.  The  problem  of  dealing 
with  the  history  of  these  battalions  in  the  space  has  been 
extremely  difficult,  and  I  have  been  reluctantly  compelled 
to  adopt  a  compromise.  The  complete  story  could  not  be 
told  in  all  its  detail.  On  the  other  hand,  the  purely  military 
narrative  which  makes  the  more  irresistible  challenge  to 
my  mind  might  have  been  concentrated,  but  it  would 
have  tended  to  be  lifeless.  I  have  attempted  to  meet 
both  claims  by  dealing  with  every  engagement  that 
seemed  to  deserve  notice  as  correctly  and  completely  as 


viii  PREFACE 

possible,  while  singling  out  incidents  appealing  to  me  as 
more  significant.  In  the  final  resort  some  loss  of  per- 
spective and  some  injustice  are  inevitable.  But  injustice 
is  inevitable  on  any  plan.  In  this  laborious,  though 
fascinating,  inquiry  I  have  been  struck  by  nothing  so 
much  as  the  terrible  disproportion  and  fundamental 
injustice  of  the  awards. 

Take,  for  instance,  the  one  case  of  the  landing  of  the 
2nd  Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers  in  Gallipoli,  which  so  far 
has  not  been  justly  appreciated.  The  tardy  recognition 
that  came  to  the  battalion  came  so  late  that  many  whose 
work  should  have  been  recognised  had  fallen,  and  only 
the  Victoria  Cross  is  given  posthumously.  Many,  of 
course,  fell  on  the  day  of  the  landing  ;  but  many  more 
had  passed  away  before  recognition  came  to  the  survivors. 
One  or  two  regiments  were  seen  to  fall  in  heroic  action,  and 
their  story  ran  on  every  one's  lips.  But  other  men  quite 
as  heroic  fell  unmarked,  frequently  unnoticed,  by  their 
fellows,  and  sympathetic  friends  try  to  soothe  wounded 
hearts  at  home  by  recollections  which  are  frequently  found 
to  be  incompatible.  If  I  were  asked  to  say  what  incident 
in  the  three  landings  in  Gallipoli,]  "X,"  "  W  "  and  "  Y," 
appealed  most  to  me,  I  should  say  with  little  hesitation 
it  was  the  stand  of  the  gallant  company  ("  X  ")  of  the 
Royal  Fusiliers  under  Captain  Leslie  on  the  left  of  the 
"  X  "  beach.  The  company  dwindled  to  a  platoon  in  the 
day's  fighting.  Leslie  himself  fell.  But  he  held  off  the 
repeated  onslaughts  of  the  Turks,  protected  the  landing 
of  the  87th  Brigade,  and  made  possible  that  swift  march 
to  the  right  that  secured  elbow-room  for  the  Lancashire 
landing. 

My  story  therefore  is  probably  not  more  unjust  than  in 
any  case  it  must  have  been.  It  is  impossible  here  to  set 
down  all  the  books  I  have  consulted.  I  have  read  all  I 
knew  to  be  published.  It  is  also  impossible  to  thank  all 
who  have  helped  me.  Without  the  help  of  Generals 
Donald  and  Newenham  I  could  not  have  made  much 
headway,  and  I  have  received  the  most  generous  help 


PREFACE  ix 

from  all  to  whom  I  have  appealed,  from  Colonel  W.  Hill, 
Lieut. -Colonel  T.  R.  Mallock,  and  Lieut.-Colonel  Malone, 
especially.  As  it  was  wholly  impossible  within  the  space 
to  do  full  justice  to  the  personal  side  of  the  story,  a  long 
appendix  has  been  devoted  to  accounts  of  soldiers  who 
actually  took  part  in  the  various  operations.  I  must 
thank  those  who  have  kindly  allowed  me  to  use  their 
contributions.  I  have  also  to  thank  Captain  Gibson,  of 
the  Infantry  Records  Office,  and  Mr.  A.  E.  Dixon,  of  the 
Committee  of  Imperial  Defence,  for  bearing  with  an 
ambitious  and  continuous  series  of  demands. 

But,  of  course,  the  responsibility  for  the  book  is  wholly 
mine,  and  I  trust  it  is  not  altogether  an  unworthy  tribute 
to  the  war  record  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers. 

H.  C.  O'N. 


CONTENTS 

CHAP.  PAGE 

I.     Reveille     .......  i 

II.     First  Battles— Mons  to  the  Aisne    .         .  33 

III.  Flanders— La  Bassee,  Armentieres,  Ypres  51 

IV.  The  First  Spring    Campaign— Neuve   Cha- 

pelle,  Ypres 64 

V.     The  Summer  Operations— Loos  ...  76 

VI.    The  Great  Adventure — Gallipoli      .         .  86 

VII.     The  Battle  of  the  Somme.         .         .         .  109 

VIII.     The  German  Retreat  and  the  Battle  of 

Arras       .......  152 

IX.     The  Battle  of  Messines     ....  175 

X.    The  Third  Battle  of  Ypres       .         .         .182 

XL     The  Battle  of  Cambrai      ....  205 

XII.     Interlude 220 

XIII.  The  German  Offensive       ....  230 

XIV.  Salonika 261 

XV.     East  Africa 269 

XVI.     The  Hundred  Days — First  Battles  .         .  281 

XVII.    The  Hundred  Days— Last  Battles    .         .  311 

APPENDIX. 

The  Roll  of  Honour 337 

Decorations  awarded  to  the  Royal  Fusiliers      .  358 


Xll 


CONTENTS 


General  Officers   .... 
The  Battle  of  Le  Cateau 
The  Landing  at  Gallipoli 
Description  of  the  Flood  at  Gallipoli 
"No.  8  Platoon"   .... 

The  Somme 

Recollections  of  Miraumont 

The  2oth  Battalion  visit  the  Coast 

Bourlon  Wood  and  after 

Life  in  the  Lines  (February  to  March 


1918) 


PAGE 

359 

365 

367 

37i 

374 
386 

39° 

393 

401 

4°3 


LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIONS 


FACING 
PAGE 


King  George  V.  .         .        Frontispiece. 

Major-General    Sir    Geoffry    Barton,    K.C.V.O., 

C.B.,  C.M.G.,  Colonel  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  .       10 

Corporal  G.  Jarratt,  V.C.,  8th  Royal  Fusiliers     .       24 

Sergeant  S.   G.    Pearse,   V.C.,   M.M.,   45TH   Royal 

Fusiliers 24 

Brig.-General  N.  R.  McMahon,  D.S.O.    ...  34 

Lieutenant  M.  J.  Dease,  V.C.,  4TH  Battalion        .  38 

Major-General  Sir  Reginald  Pinney,  K.C.B.         .  64 

H.M.S.  Implacable  with  the  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers 

approaching  "  X  "  Beach,  Gallipoli        .         .  86 

The  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  at  the  top  of  the  Cliff, 

"  X  "  Beach,  Gallipoli 88 

Brig.-General  H.  E.  B.  Newenham,  C.B.        .         .      92 

Major-General  Sir  W.  B.  Hickie,  K.C.B.       .         .     no 

Lance-Sergeant  (later  Lieutenant)  F.  W.  Palmer, 

V.C.,  22ND  Royal  Fusiliers      ....     156 

Private  S.  F.  Godley,  V.C.,  4TH  Royal  Fusiliers.     156 

Lance-Corporal  C.  G.  Robertson,  V.C.,  M.M.,  ioth 

Royal  Fusiliers 198 

Sergeant  Molyneux,  V.C.,  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers    .     198 

Lieut. -Colonel  N.  B.  Elliott-Cooper,  V.C.,  D.S.O., 

M.C. 212 


XIV 


LIST  OF  ILLUSTRATIONS 


Captain  R.  Gee,  V.C.,  M.P 

Captain  W.  N.  Stone,  V.C.,  17TH  Royal  Fusiliers 
Lieutenant  W.  Dartnell,  V.C.,  25TH  Royal  Fusi 

LIL*I\S  ••••••• 

Major-General  Sir  Sydney  Lawford,  K.C.B. 

Major-General   Sir   Charles   Townshend,    K.C.B 
D.S.O.,  M.P 


FACING 
PAGE 

214 
2l6 


2l6 
280 

310 


MAPS. 

Map  to  illustrate  the  Battle  of  the  Somme        .  151 

Map  to  illustrate  the  Fighting  about  Ypres        .  204 

Sketch  Map  of  German  East  Africa     .         .         .  273 

Map  to  illustrate  the  Stages  in  the  Fighting  of 

the  Hundred  Days  ......  336 


THE  ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN 
THE  GREAT  WAR 

CHAPTER  I 

REVEILLE 

At  the  outbreak  of  the  war  there  were  four  regular  and 
three  special  reserve  battalions  of  Royal  Fusiliers,  besides 
the  first  four  (City  of  London)  battalions,  the  London 
Regiment  (Territorials),  who  are  affiliated  to  the  regiment. 
Before  the  armistice  forty-five  battalions  had  been  raised, 
thirty-five  of  which  served  overseas ;  the  Territorial 
battalions  had  thrown  off  numerous  duplicates,  and  there 
had  been  formed  the  ioth  Cadet  Battalion,  also  a  Royal 
Fusiliers  unit.  Omitting  the  last  mentioned,  there  were 
formed  in  all  before  the  armistice  fifty-nine  Royal 
Fusilier  battalions. 

Even  so  summary  a  survey  gives  one  pause.  It  is 
obvious  that  already  more  battalions  have  been  enu- 
merated than  took  part  in  the  first  battle  of  the  British 
Expeditionary  Force  ;  and  the  regiment  does  not  diminish, 
but  grows,  as  the  inquiry  into  its  numbers  and  services  is 
prosecuted.  At  the  battle  of  the  Somme  there  were  a 
greater  number  of  Royal  Fusiliers  engaged  in  France  than 
the  total  allied  force  at  Inkerman.  The  depot  dealt  with 
a  body  of  men  (153,000)  exceeding  the  whole  of  the 
original  Expeditionary  Force,  and  although  not  all  of  them 
were  necessarily  drafted  to  the  regiment,  the  total  number 
of  Royal  Fusiliers  must  have  exceeded  the  total  number  of 
combatants  in  any  of  the  great  battles  of  the  nineteenth 
century,  with  the  exception,  perhaps,  of  half  a  dozen. 

It  is  a  difficult  matter  to  give  the  exact  number  of  men 

F.  B 


2        ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

who  passed  through  the  regiment  during  the  war.*  Clearly 
the  number  was  very  considerable.  Apart  from  the  City 
of  London  Regiment,  a  rough  f  estimate  would  give  about 
195,000.  This  may  be  taken,  at  any  rate,  as  a  first 
approximation.  The  29th  Londons  numbered  about  3,681, 
and  the  30th  about  2,807.  ^  we  a^d  these  and  also  the 
number  attributable  to  the  1st  (c.  9,408),  2nd  (c.  8,133), 
3rd  (c.  9,199),  and  4th  (c.  7,248)  Londons,  we  get  a  total 
of  235,476  men  who  wore  the  badge  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers 
during  the  war.  It  is  a  great  number ;  and,  even  with  the 
changed  regard  for  numbers  which  the  war  insensibly 
produced,  it  is  impossible  to  think  of  it  but  as  amazing. 

So  great  is  the  roll  of  the  regiment  that  it  may  be  taken 
to  be  the  British  Army,  or  indeed  the  British  race,  in  little. 
If  you  seek  men  of  leisure,  you  may  find  them  here  ;  if 
sportsmen,  here  they  are  ;  if  bankers,  accountants,  stock- 
brokers, lawyers,  men  of  science,  administrators,  poets, 
writers  or  100,000  cockneys  grousing  in  a  characteristically 
hearty  manner  and  concealing  a  wealth  of  heroism  and 
kindliness  under  a  proper  protective  irony — here  they  are. 
In  fine,  here  is  the  British  race  in  frieze  and  fustian. 

*p  *J*  *n  1* 

It  will  be  useful  to  assemble  the  battalions  in  summary 
form. 


Battalions  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  during  the  Great 

War. 

1st. 

Regular. 

2nd. 

Regular. 

3rd. 

Regular. 

4th. 

Regular. 

5th. 

Reserve  (Dover). 

6th. 

Reserve  (Dover). 

7th. 

Special  Reserve,  France,  23/7/16. 

8th. 

Service. 

9th. 

Service. 

*  The  war  is  taken  as  having  ended  on  November  nth,  1918 

f  This  estimate  is  called  "  rough  "  because  it  is  difficult  to  determine 

its  precise  accuracy.     But  it  is  given  only  after  a  very  careful  survey 

with  the  help  of  the  Records  Office. 


NUMBER  OF  BATTALIONS  3 

10th.     (Stockbrokers.) 

10th  (b)     (Intelligence  Corps.) 

nth.     Service. 

12th.     Service. 

13th.     Service. 

14th.     Training,  later  31st  Training  Reserve  Battalion. 

15th.     Training,  later  32nd  Training  Reserve  Battalion. 

16th.     Training,  later  22nd  Training  Reserve  Battalion. 

17th.      (Empire.) 

18th.     (1st  Public  Schools.) 

19th.      (2nd  Public  Schools.) 

20th.      (3rd  Public  Schools.) 

21st.      (4th  Public  Schools.) 

22nd.     (Kensington.) 

23rd.      (1st  Sportsman's.) 

24th.      (2nd  Sportsman's.) 

25th.      (Frontiersmen.) 

26th.      (Bankers.) 

27th.     Training  Reserve,  later  103rd  Training  Reserve 

Battalion. 
28th.     Training  Reserve,  later  104th  Training  Reserve 

Battalion. 
29th.     Training  Reserve,  later  105th  Training  Reserve 

Battalion. 
30th.     Training  Reserve,  later  106th  Training  Reserve 

Battalion,  then  459th  Infantry  Battalion,  then 

51st  Young  Soldiers'  Battalion. 
31st.      Training  Reserve,  later  107th  Training  Reserve 

Battalion,  then  265th  Infantry  Battalion,  then 

52nd  Young  Soldiers'  Battalion. 

32nd.    Service  (East  Ham). 

33rd.     Labour. 

34th.     Labour. 

35th.     Labour. 

36th.     Labour. 

37th.     Labour. 

38th.      (Jewish.) 

39th.      (Jewish.) 

40  th.      (Jewish.) 

41st.      (Jewish)  Training  Reserve. 

B  2 


ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 


42nd.  (Jewish)  Training  Reserve. 

43rd.  Garrison,  raised  in  France,  25/9/15. 

44th.  Garrison,  raised  in  France,  25/9/15. 

45th.  North  Russian  Relief  Force,  Park  Royal,  8/4/19. 

46th.  North  Russian  Relief  Force,  Park  Royal,  8/4/19. 

47th.  New  Garrison,  raised  Hounslow,  14/5/19. 

City  of  London  Battalions. 

1st   Londons* .     3  overseas  battalions  and  1  reserve. 
3  overseas  battalions  and  1  reserve. 
3  overseas  battalions  and  1  reserve. 
3  overseas  battalions  and  1  reserve. 
[  Home  service  battalions  of  low  category 
men,  many  of  whom  had  been  over- 
(     seas  and  disabled. 
*  *  *  * 

The  brigades  and  divisions  in  which  the  Royal  Fusilier 

battalions  spent  the  greatest  part  of  their  service  overseas 

may  be  seen  at  a  glance  from  the  following  table  : — 

1st   Battalion        .  )         ., _,  .      , 

17th  Brigade 


2nd  Londons 
3rd  Londons 
4th  Londons 

29th  Londons 
30th  Londons 


12th 
2nd  Battalion 
3rd  Battalion 
4th  Battalion 
7th  Battalion 
8th  Battalion 
9th 

10th  Battalion 
13th 


I 


86th  Brigade 

85  th  Brigade 

9th  Brigade 

190th  Brigade 

36th  Brigade 
1  nth  Brigade 


54th  Brigade 
19th  Brigade 
99th  Brigade 
99th 

5th 

5th 


24th  Division. 

29th  Division. 

28th  Division. 

3rd  Division. 

63rd  Division. 

12th  Division. 

'  37th  Division. 
(34th  Division,  July 
and  August,  1916.) 
18th  Division. 
33rd  Division. 


2nd  Division. 


nth  Battalion 

20th  Battalion 

22nd  Battalion 

23rd 

17th 

24th 

*  In  order  to  avoid  confusion  the  Territorial  battalions  Royal 
Fusiliers  are  referred  to  throughout  this  book  as  1st,  2nd,  3rd  and  4th 
Londons.  The  Regular  and  Service  Battalions  are  referred  to  as  "  1st 
Battalion,"  or  "  1st  Royal  Fusiliers";  "2nd  Battalion,"  "2nd  Royal 
Fusiliers,"  etc. 


WORK  OF  THE  DEPOT 


26th  Battalion 

32nd 

1/1  London  Regt. 

i/3 

i/4 

1/2 

2/1  London  Regt. 

2/2 

2/3 

2/4 


124th  Brigade 
123rd 

167th  Brigade 
167th 
168th 
169th 


41st   Division. 


56th  Division. 


173rd  Brigade    .     58th  Division. 


Some  idea  of  their  war  service  may  be  gathered  from  the 
table  given  on  pp.  6  and  7,  which  summarises  the  move- 
ments of  the  Regular  and  Service  battalions.  The  move- 
ments of  the  Londons  do  not  yield  as  readily  to  tabular 
arrangement. 

SJS  3£  )|C  5(5 

For  the  first  year  of  the  war  large  numbers  of  recruits 
for  the  regiment  arrived  at  the  depot,  were  given  a  few 
hours  of  squad  drill  and,  if  time  allowed,  a  little  elementary 
musketry.  They  were  then  sent  off  in  batches  as  soon  as 
the  various  battalions  could  receive  them.  At  times  the 
nucleus  of  a  whole  battalion  was  despatched  in  one  day. 
At  first  clothing  and  necessaries  presented  considerable 
difficulties,  and  in  many  cases  recruits  were  sent  off  in 
their  civilian  suits.  A  little  later  a  plain  blue  serge 
uniform  and  a  field  service  cap  were  issued ;  and,  when 
the  cold  weather  set  in,  civilian  overcoats  of  various  shapes 
and  colours  were  provided.  At  this  time  there  was  a 
serious  shortage  of  blankets  ;  but,  as  the  result  of  appeals, 
a  number  of  sympathetic  civilians  brought  upwards  of 
1,000  blankets  and  rugs  to  the  barracks.  Later  on,  when 
these  were  no  longer  required  for  the  troops,  they  were 
distributed  among  a  number  of  hospitals. 

In  the  early  days  the  task  of  dealing  with  the  large 
number  of  recruits  devolved  upon  a  very  limited  staff, 
composed  for  the  most  part  of  old  Royal  Fusiliers,  either 
over  military  age  or  unfit  for  active  service.     Towards 


ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 


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8        ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

the  end  of  1914  twelve  metropolitan  policemen  were  lent  to 
the  depot,  and  for  the  months  they  remained  at  Hounslow 
they  proved  a  very  efficient  help  in  the  training  of  the 
recruits.  Sometimes  the  accommodation  was  strained 
almost  to  the  breaking  point,  when  large  bodies  of  men 
were  sent  to  the  depot  at  very  short  notice.  "  Labour  " 
recruits  from  all  over  the  country  were  the  first  to  test 
the  depot  in  this  way.  Later  on,  numbers  of  men  for 
substitution  from  various  units  arrived  at  the  barracks 
and  stayed  for  some  time  as  "  the  Substitution  Com- 
pany." Bodies  of  men  discharged  from  hospital  were  also 
quartered  at  Hounslow  and  put  through  a  course  of 
'  hardening "  before  being  returned  to  their  reserve 
units.  There  were  also  agricultural  companies ;  and, 
towards  the  end  of  the  war,  several  thousands  of  "  Im- 
perial recruits,"  nominally  British  subjects,  recruited  in 
U.S.A.  and  South  America,  had  to  be  accommodated 
at  the  barracks.  It  is  hardly  necessary  to  say  that  the 
work  represented  by  all  these  activities  was  immense. 

The  first  four  battalions  were  Regular  battalions  which 
served  with  great  distinction  throughout  the  war.  Two 
of  them,  the  2nd  and  the  4th,  each  gained  two  Victoria 
Crosses.  The  5th  and  6th  were  Reserve  battalions.  Both 
of  them  mobilised  at  Hounslow  and  went  to  their  war 
stations  a  few  days  after  the  declaration  of  war,  the  5th 
under  Lieut. -Colonel  Vivian  Henry  and  the  6th  under 
Lieut. -Colonel  R.  C.  Batt,  M.V.O.  There  they  formed  part 
of  the  Dover  defences  and,  fully  equipped  for  the  field, 
manned  defensive  positions.  Drafts  were  prepared  for 
the  Expeditionary  Force,  and  within  a  few  weeks  began 
to  arrive  in  increasing  numbers.  The  work  became 
very  strenuous.  Instructors  had  to  be  improvised,  the 
battalions  at  times  being  over  4,000  strong,  with  numerous 
recruits  under  training.  Before  the  end  of  June,  1915, 
80  officers  and  about  3,000  men  had  been  sent  to  the  front 
by  the  5th  Battalion  alone.  Sent  to  Carrickfergus,  Ireland, 
at  the  end  of  1917,  the  6th  Battalion  had  the  pleasure  of 
entertaining  for  three  days  about  600  N.C.O.'s  and  men 


RAISING  OF  THE  BATTALIONS  9 

of  the  American  Expeditionary  Force  who  had  been 
rescued  from  the  S.S.  Tuscania,  torpedoed  off  the  Irish 
coast  early  in  1918. 

The  7th  (Extra  Reserve)  Battalion  after  demobilisation 
reported  daily  to  Finsbury  Barracks  for  roll  call,  lectures, 
etc.,  until  August  8th,  when  it  entrained,  18  officers  and 
750  other  ranks  strong,  for  Falmouth.  Before  leaving 
London  100  men,  under  the  command  of  Major  the  Hon. 
A.  C.  S.  Chichester,*  had  marched  to  the  Guildhall  and 
handed  over  the  battalion  colours  to  the  Lord  Mayor  for 
safe  custody. 

The  battalion,  at  first  commanded  by  Lieut. -Colonel 
Cockerill  f  and  later  by  Lieut. -Colonel  R.  S.  I.  Hesketh, 
became  a  draft-finding  unit  and,  like  the  5th  and  6th 
Battalions,  sent  out  periodic  reinforcements  to  the  Fusilier 
battalions  overseas.  This  continued  until  July,  1916, 
when  the  7th  mobilised  for  service  in  France,  becoming 
part  of  the  190th  Brigade  of  the  63rd  (Naval)  Division. 

Some  of  the  battalions  formed  during  the  war  were  the 
direct  product  of  the  units  already  existing.  The  8th  and 
9th,  both  sendee  battalions,  began  in  this  way.  A  draft 
of  one  officer  (Lieutenant  T.  G.  Cope)  and  100  O.R.  left 
the  depot  on  August  15th  for  Colchester  in  company  with 
a  similar  draft  under  Lieutenant  D.  E.  Estill  to  form  the 
8th  and  9th  Battalions  respectively.  The  8th  was 
reinforced  by  a  draft  of  at  least  500  from  the  5th  Battalion, 
and  on  August  21st  Lieut. -Colonel  A.  C.  Annesley  arrived 
to  take  over  command.  This  battalion  secured  two 
Victoria  Crosses  during  the  war.  Lieut. -Colonel  J.  C. 
Robertson  was  the  first  CO.  of  the  9th,  and  both  batta- 
lions, after  a  period  of  strenuous  training  at  Colchester  and 
Aldershot,  left  for  France  at  the  end  of  May,  1915. 

The  10th  ("  Stockbrokers'  ")  Battalion  was  raised  at  the 
direct  suggestion  of  Sir  Henry  Rawlinson,  then  Director 
of  Recruiting,  by  Major  the  Hon.  R.  White.     In  a  letter 

*  Later  transferred  to  the  Irish  Guards. 

f  Transferred  to  War  Office  on  August  4th.  He  became  Director 
of  Special  Intelligence. 


io      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

to  the  latter  at  the  Travellers'  Club  Sir  Henry  stated  his 
belief  that  there  were  "  many  City  employes  who  would 
be  willing  to  enlist  if  they  were  assured  that  they  would 
serve  with  their  friends."     Major  White  was  asked  to 
collect  the  names  and  addresses  of  those  who  would  be 
willing  to  serve  in  the  service  battalion  of  the  Royal 
Fusiliers.     The    battalion,    which    would    be    composed 
entirely  of  City  employes,  would  be  sent  abroad  as  soon 
as  it  had  attained  a  sufficient  standard  of  efficiency.     The 
letter  was  dated  August  12th.     Recruiting  began  on  the 
21st,  when  210  men  presented  themselves.     The  following 
day  the  battalion  was  425  strong  ;  it  was  900  on  the  24th, 
1,300  on  the  25th  and  1,600  on  the  27th.     The  numbers 
speak  for  themselves  ;   but  they  represent  the  result  of  a 
careful  selection  among  the  eager  flock  who  presented 
themselves.     Parading  in  all  sorts  of  clothing,  from  silk 
hats  and  morning  coats  to  caps  and  Norfolk  jackets,  the 
battalion  was  inspected  on  the  29th  by  Lord  Roberts  in 
Temple  Gardens,  and  marched  thence  to  the  Tower  Ditch, 
where  they  were  sworn  in  by  the  Lord  Mayor,  Sir  W.  Van- 
sittart  Bowater,  who  afterwards  became  Honorary  Colonel. 
The  battalion  proceeded  to  Colchester  to  begin  training, 
their  first  CO.  being  Lieut. -Colonel  Hawker,  D.S.O.,  who 
was  succeeded  in  November  by  Lieut. -Colonel  the  Hon. 
R.  Wbite.      In  July,  1915,  they  went  to  France,  where 
they  won  many  decorations,   including  a  V.C.    (Lance- 
Corporal  Robertson)  and  suffered  2,647  casualties. 

There  was  a  twin  to  this  battalion,  differing  wholly  in 
characteristics  from  it.  How  it  was  raised  cannot  be  told 
in  a  few  words.  Its  description  was  "  10th  Battalion 
Royal  Fusiliers  or  Intelligence  B,"  abbreviated  I  (b). 
It  seems,  like  Topsy,  to  have  just  "  growed."  The  first 
nucleus  was  provided  by  a  small  body  of  men  from 
Scotland  Yard  especially  selected  for  their  knowledge  of 
French  and  German.  It  performed  mysterious  and 
wonderful  things,  such  as  forming  the  buffer  state  between 
a  colonel  and  a  babel  of  tongues.  This  representative 
of  I  (b),  a  professor  of  languages,  had  to  explain  any  lapses 


Major-General  Sir  Geoffry  Barton,   K.C.V.O.,  C.B.,  C.M.G., 
Colonel  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers. 


THE  INTELLIGENCE  BATTALION       n 

from  discipline  to  the  colonel,  and  any  punishments 
inflicted  on  behalf  of  discipline  to  the  recruits  who  were 
possessed  of  the  gift  of  tongues.  The  latter  appears  to 
have  been  the  more  wearing  task,  though  only  by  a  shade. 
In  France  their  work  consisted  in  the  detection  of  German 
agents.  Working  generally  in  civilian  clothes,  the  small 
nucleus  expanded  into  a  numerous  body  of  officers  and 
men,  recruited  for  their  knowledge  of  languages,  from 
various  units.  In  civil  life  these  men  represented  the 
oddest  mixture  of  classes.  There  were  some  of  those 
mere  idlers  who  pick  up  a  variety  of  languages  from  their 
penchant  for  travel.  One  was  a  travelling  showman  of 
Russian  bears,  who  piloted  performing  bears  from  the 
extreme  north  to  the  southernmost  point  of  Europe. 
Another  was  an  Anglo-Armenian  sergeant,  born  in  France 
and  educated  in  Czecho-Slovakia  and  Italy.  Another 
was  a  strange  cross  of  Aberdeen  and  Naples. 

This  aggregation  of  strange  types  was  at  length  placed 
for  administrative  purposes  in  one  unit,  the  ioth  (b)  Royal 
Fusiliers.  Beginning  in  France,  where  their  counter- 
espionage work  did  much  to  make  our  intelligence  work 
almost  invariably  superior  to  that  of  the  enemy,  I  (b) 
gradually  spread  to  Italy,  Salonika,  the  East,  and,  finally, 
to  Russia. 

The  nth  Battalion  is  an  example  of  the  meaning  of 
personality.  Recruited  at  Mill  Hill  as  a  battalion  of  the 
Middlesex  Regiment,  they  were  received  at  Colchester  by 
Colonel  the  Hon.  R.  White  (of  the  ioth),  who  asked  them 
if  they  would  care  to  be  a  sister  battalion  to  his  own. 
This  was  agreed  to  unanimously.  At  this  time  the 
battalion  was  simply  a  body  of  enthusiastic  recruits  from 
Manchester  and  Notting  Hill ;  and  they  slept  their  first 
night  at  Colchester  under  hedges.  During  the  next  week 
officers  began  to  arrive.  Major  Taylor  was  the  first 
officer  in  charge  of  the  battalion  ;  but  Lieut. -Colonel  C.  C. 
Carr  was  their  first  commander.  The  ioth  battalion, 
which  had  given  the  name  to  the  nth,  was  transferred  to 
the  nth  Brigade  ;    and   the  nth  battalion  was  left  to 


12       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

represent  the  Royal  Fusiliers  in  the  brigade.  The  nth 
battalion  had  the  good  fortune  to  find  in  Mr.  S.  C.  Turner, 
a  City  business  man,  an  ideal  godfather.  It  has  been 
very  difficult  to  trace  some  of  the  war  battalions  of  the 
Royal  Fusiliers.  They  have  disappeared  with  a  com- 
pleteness hardly  credible  in  so  short  a  time.  But  in 
Mr.  Turner  the  nth  Battalion  lives  on  its  individual  life. 
During  the  war  he  took  charge  of  every  effort  for  the 
amelioration  of  the  men's  conditions,  and  saw  to  their 
relatives.  He  invented  an  ingenious  contrivance  for 
drying  the  men's  socks — a  very  pressing  need — and 
devised  a  special  paper  currency  for  the  use  of  the  battalion 
in  France.  These  "  Fusilier  "  francs  and  centimes  were 
accepted,  not  only  in  the  canteens,  but  by  the  French 
people  in  billeting  areas  ;  and,  issued  at  first  in  exchange 
for  the  men's  money,  were  soon  used,  at  the  request  of 
the  men,  for  their  pay.  The  difficulties  of  small  change 
were  thus  overcome  as  easily  as  ingeniously.  Between 
5,000  and  6,000  men  went  through  this  one  battalion  in 
the  54th  Brigade,  with  whom  they  went  out  to  France  in 
July,  1915. 

The   12th  Battalion  was  collected  at   Hounslow  and 
taken  down  to  Shoreham.     It  was  apparently  formed  in 
pursuance    of    Lord    Kitchener's    policy    announced    by 
Sir  Henry  Rawlinson  to  Major  the  Hon.  R.  White— the 
desire  to  extend  the  scope  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  by  adding 
further  units  to  the  regiment.     About  September  25th, 
1914,  Colonel  C.  J.  Stanton  arrived  to  take  command, 
and  the  battalion  went  to  France  on  September  1st,  1915. 
During  the  first  day  of  the  battle  of  Loos  Colonel  Stanton 
was  called  to  Divisional  Headquarters  to  take  over  the 
work  of  Brigadier-General,  and  he  handed  over  command 
to  Lieut.-Colonel  Garnons- Williams,  the  second  in  com- 
mand, who  was  mortally  wounded  the  same  day.     Thus, 
at  one  stroke,  the  higher  direction  of  the  battalion,  in 
whom  all  had  learned  to  trust,  was  wiped  out.     Fortu- 
nately  in   Major   Compton    the   unit    found   a   worthy 
successor  to  these  distinguished  soldiers. 


TRAINING  BATTALIONS  13 

The  13th  Battalion  was  formed  in  much  the  same  way 
as  the  12th.  It  was  assembled  in  October,  1914,  the 
first  CO.  being  Colonel  F.  P.  Hutchinson.  After  a  period 
of  training  the  battalion  left  for  France  in  July,  1915, 
where  it  performed  distinguished  service.  Colonel  Des 
Vceux  took  the  unit  to  France,  and  remained  in  command 
until  August,  1916,  when  he  was  evacuated  sick. 

In  the  "  Army  List,"  at  the  end  of  1914,  the  14th  appears 
as  a  service  battalion,  as  do  also  the  15th  and  16th.  But 
these  were  all  training  reserve  battalions.  The  nucleus 
of  the  two  latter  was  furnished  by  the  6th  (Reserve) 
Battalion,  like  which  they  performed  the  most  necessary 
and  important  role  of  training  drafts  for  the  front.  The 
battalions  were  first  commanded  by  Lieut. -Colonel  C.  R. 
Hely-Hutchinson,  Colonel  S.  G.  Bird,  D.S.O.,  and  Lieut.- 
Colonel  G.  R.  Lascelles,  respectively.  The  staffs  of  these 
units  consisted  chiefly  of  N.C.O.'s  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers, 
and  the  work  of  training  went  on  so  smoothly  that  rein- 
forcements were  sent  out  at  regular  intervals.  The  16th 
Battalion  despatched  drafts  every  nine  weeks. 

The  17th  (Empire)  Battalion  was  raised  by  a  body  of 
gentlemen  styled  "  The  British  Empire  Committee."  The 
motive  which  drew  them  together  in  August,  1914,  was 
the  desire  to  assist  in  the  raising  of  troops  ;  and  their  first 
intention  was  to  raise  a  cavalry  regiment  on  the  lines  of 
the  Imperial  Light  Horse.  After  various  communications 
with  the  military  authorities  it  was  found  that  cavalry 
were  not  desired,  but  the  Committee  were  authorised  on 
August  30th,  1914,  to  raise  a  battalion  of  infantry  to  be 
designated  the  Empire  Battalion,  Royal  Fusiliers.  It 
was  subsequently  numbered  "  the  17th  (Service)  Battalion, 
Royal  Fusiliers  (Empire)."  The  battalion  was  raised 
within  ten  days,  and  it  went  into  camp  at  Warlingham 
on  September  12th.  This  successful  result  says  much  for 
the  energy  of  the  Committee,  under  the  chairmanship  of 
General  Sir  Bindon  Blood,  G.C.B.,  who,  at  the  request 
of  the  battalion,  became  their  honorary  colonel.  The 
Committee  also  included  Mr.  Herbert  Nield,  K.C.,  M.P., 


14       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

and  Major-General  Lionel  Herbert,  C.B.,  who  became 
secretary  early  in  1915,  and  very  largely  contributed 
to  the  successful  completion  of  the  task.  The  same 
gentlemen  later  raised,  at  the  request  of  the  War  Office, 
two  brigades  of  Field  Artillery,  a  Field  Company  R.E., 
and  a  Divisional  Signal  Company  R.E.  They  clothed, 
equipped  and  hutted  the  battalion,  whose  first  commanding 
officer  was  Major  G.  Harland  Bowden,  M.P.  The  men 
never  forgot  the  welcome  they  received  at  Warlingham, 
and  "  Warlingham  Crater,"  near  Givenchy,  perpetuated 
their  connection  with  the  pleasant  Surrey  village.  Their 
war  service  secured  many  distinctions,  including  a 
Victoria  Cross  for  an  action  which  stands  out  even  among 
heroic  deeds. 

British  Public  Schools  and  Universities  yielded  the 
material  for  the  18th,  19th,  20th  and  21st  Battalions.  The 
origin  of  these  four  battalions  is  fortunately  clear.  On 
August  26th,  1914,  there  appeared  in  The  Times  a  letter 
over  the  signature  "  Eight  Unattached,"  calhng  upon  all 
Public  School  men  of  similar  age  and  qualifications  {i.e., 
marksmen  at  Bisley  between  the  years  1898  and  1903) 
to  discuss  the  formation  of  a  "  Legion  of  Marksmen"  at 
59a,  Brook  Street,  W.,  between  8  p.m.  and  9  p.m.,  on 
August  27th.  On  proceeding  to  the  rendezvous  some  of 
the  "  Eight  Unattached  "  informed  inquirers  that  they 
had  that  day  joined  the  10th  City  of  London  Regiment ; 
but  that,  if  any  of  those  who  had  come  wished  to  carry  on, 
the  manager  of  Claridge's  had  kindly  placed  a  room  at 
their  disposal.  Mr.  J.  P.  Thompson,  a  young  man  of 
fifty-three,  who  had  spent  fifteen  years  ranching  in  Texas, 
decided  to  see  if  anything  could  be  done,  and  with  about 
forty  others  took  advantage  of  the  offer  of  the  manager  of 
Claridge's.  A  meeting  was  held  at  which  he  was  elected 
chairman  and  Mr.  H.  J.  Boon  secretary.  After  some  dis- 
cussion it  was  decided  to  offer  to  form  a  brigade  5,000 
strong  of  old  Public  School  and  University  men.  Offices 
were  taken  at  66,  Victoria  Street,  and  Dr.  Hele-Shaw  and 
Mr.  S.  M.  Gluckstein  were  added  to  the  first  committee. 


PUBLIC  SCHOOL  BATTALIONS  15 

The  War  Office  soon  recognised  the  usefulness  of  their 
efforts  and  the  plan  was  launched. 

Mr.  Thompson  *  resigned  from  the  chairmanship,  fearing 
that  it  would  preclude  his  going  to  France  ;  and  Mr.  H.J. 
Boon  became  chairman  in  his  place.  Recruiting  offices 
were  opened  throughout  the  country,  and  the  Public 
Schools  and  Universities  Force  ("  U.P.S.")  came  into  being. 
Within  eleven  days  over  5,000  men  had  been  recruited. 
In  the  early  days  Sir  Francis  Lloyd  inspected  the  London 
contingent,  some  2,000  strong,  in  Hyde  Park,  and  remarked, 
"  The  finest  body  of  men  I  have  ever  seen."  They  were 
fine  men,  a  great  number  of  them  very  young,  but  a 
sprinkling  between  thirty  and  forty  years  of  age.  The 
18th  and  19th  and  half  of  the  20th  Battalion  went  to 
Epsom  on  September  18th,  the  other  half  of  the  20th  to 
Leatherhead,  and  the  21st  to  Ashstead. 

They  were  all  enormously  keen  on  their  drill,  and  settled 
down  to  their  work  in  grim  earnest.  On  October  nth  the 
first  rifles  were  issued,  200  to  each  battalion,  and  the 
command  was  as  follows  : — 

Brig.-General    R.    Gordon    Gilmour,    C.B.,    C.V.O., 
D.S.O. 

Major  H.  E.  Raymond. 

Captain  R.  Hermon-Hodge,  M.V.O. 

18th  Battalion  :   Colonel  Lord  Henry  Scott. 

19th  Battalion  :   Lieut. -Colonel  W.  Gordon. 

20th  Battalion  :  Lieut. -Colonel  C.  H.  Bennett,  D.S.O. 

21st  Battalion  :   Lieut. -Colonel  J.  Stuart- Wortley. 

The  controversy  on  the  supply  of  commissions  came  to  a 
head  early  in  1915,  on  a  suggestion  that  the  "  U.P.S." 
should  provide  an  obvious  reservoir.  It  was  suggested  in 
the  Press  that  the  men  were  being  prevented  taking  com- 

*  Mr.  Thompson  became  a  private  in  the  18th  Battalion  ;  but,  under 
the  well-established  fear  that  it  would  become  merely  an  officers' 
training  unit,  offered  himself  to  the  A.S.C.,  by  whom  he  was  accepted 
after  manipulating  his  age.  He  became  Captain  in  January,  1915, 
and  served  in  France  from  September,  1915,  to  March,  1918. 


16      ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

missions.  How  untrue  this  was  may  best  be  appreciated 
from  a  stanza  appearing  in  The  Pow-Wow,  the  brigade 
magazine  : — 

"  Eight  little  P.S.U.'s  feeling  fit  for  heaven, 
One  joined  the  Flying  Corps,  and  then  there  were  seven  ; 
Six  little  P.S.U.'s  tired  of  being  alive, 
One  applied  for  Sandhurst,  and  then  there  were  five  ; 
Five  little  P.S.U.'s  found  the  ranks  a  bore, 
The  worst  got  gazetted,  and  then  there  were  four." 

And  on  April  15th  a  letter,  signed  by  the  committee  of 
the  brigade,  stated  that  when  the  new  demand  for  officers 
had  been  satisfied  no  fewer  than  "3,083  men  will  have 
been  taken  altogether  "  for  that  purpose. 

How  the  brigade  coped  with  such  a  drain  is  impossible  to 
say.  In  some  way  they  kept  their  corporate  spirit  and 
looked  forward  eagerly  to  going  out.  It  was  this  sort  of 
impatience  that  inspired  the  quatrain  in  The  Pow-Wow, — 

"  Some  to  the  Pyramids  have  raised  their  Eyes, 
Others  declare  that  France  shall  be  our  Prize  ; 
Some  speak  of  Aldershot — This  much  is  Truth, 
We  are  at  Woodcote — and — the  Rest  is  Lies." 

A  very  delightful  cartoon  of  "  Our  Lady  of  Rumours  " 
emphasised  the  point  by  suggesting  such  places  as  Spain  (!), 
Sahara,  Timbuctoo  and  China.* 

At  length  the  brigade  went  out  and  learned  its  paces 
where  a  very  great  number  of  battalions  first  took  lessons 
in  trench  warfare  :  in  the  area  about  the  La  Bassee  Canal. 
There  were  at  least  seven  battalions  of  Royal  Fusiliers  in 
this  area  simultaneously :  the  four  Public  School  Battalions, 
the  8th,  17th  and  24th.  They  went  out  to  France  in 
November,  1915,  and  after  a  short  acquaintance  with 
trench  warfare,  the  demand  for  officers  still  continuing, 
the  18th,  19th  and  21st  Battalions  were  disbanded  in 
April,  1916,  the  bulk  of  the  men  going  to  various  cadet 

*  Cf.  "  The  History  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  '  U.P.S.'  (University  and 
Public  Schools)  Brigade  (Formation  and  Training),"  published  by 
The  Times. 


A  FOKKER  CAPTURED  17 

schools,   and   the   remainder   as   drafts   to   other   Royal 
Fusilier  battalions. 

Before  disappearing  as  a  unit,  however,  the  18  th  had 
the  good  fortune  to  capture  a  big  Fokker  behind  the  lines 
on  April  10th,  1916.  They  came  on  the  scene  when  a 
private  of  the  Royal  Engineers  was  attempting  to  convey 
his  delight  at  meeting  a  presumed  French  airman  who  was 
trying  to  restart  his  machine.  The  German,  finding  his 
hand  warmly  gripped,  tried  to  look  the  part ;  but  the 
1 8th  Royal  Fusiliers  instantly  recognised  the  machine, 
with  its  Iron  Cross,  for  what  it  was.  They  doubled, 
unslung  their  rifles,  and,  thinking  the  German  was  trying 
to  pass  papers  to  the  other  man,  opened  fire.  But  their 
zeal  outstripped  their  performance.  The  sapper,  now 
thoroughly  bewildered,  took  to  his  heels;  and  the  18th 
took  over  the  machine  and  the  pilot.  The  20th  Battalion 
continued  in  being,  and  did  good  service,  until  February, 
1918,  when  they  too  were  disbanded. 

The  22nd  (Kensington)  Battalion  was  raised  by  the 
Mayor  of  Kensington,  then  Alderman  William  H.  Davison. 
C  and  D  Companies  were  directly  enlisted  for  service  in 
this  battalion  ;  but  A  and  B  Companies  were  formed  as 
King  Edward's  Horse,  and  joined  C  and  D  at  the  White 
City  in  September,  1914,  to  form  the  22nd  (Service) 
Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers.  The  battalion  combined  a 
very  good  type  of  Londoner  and  a  very  good  type  of 
colonial,  and  the  two  amalgamated  very  successfully. 
They  trained  at  the  White  City,  Roffey  (Horsham), 
Clipstone  Camp,  and  Tidworth,  sailing  for  France  on 
November  15th,  1915.  Two  depot  companies  were 
formed  to  keep  the  unit  up  to  strength  ;  and  these,  with 
the  two  depot  companies  of  the  17th  Battalion,  formed  the 
27th  Reserve  Battalion.  The  22nd  were  disbanded  in 
February,  1918,  being  chosen  by  lot  from  the  99th  Brigade 
when  it  was  decided  to  reduce  the  number  of  battalions 
in  the  brigades.  By  that  time  the  22nd  had  earned  for 
themselves  a  name  for  courageous  and  skilful  fighting. 
Sergeant  Palmer  gained  the  Victoria  Cross  and  a  com- 


18      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

mission  for  an  act  which  not  only  called  for  pronounced 
personal  bravery,  but  also  for  no  little  foresight  and 
skill. 

By  a  strange  turn  of  fortune  it  devolved  upon  General 
R.  Barnett  Barker,  the  former  and  best-beloved  command- 
ing officer  of  the  battalion,  to  disband  them.  He  had  left 
the  battalion  in  November,  1917,  to  take  command  of  the 
3rd  Infantry  Brigade,  and  he  succeeded  General  Kellett 
in  command  of  the  99th  Brigade  in  January,  1918.  He 
sent  them  a  farewell  message  which  deserves  a  permanent 
record  : — 

"  In  bidding  farewell  to  the  22nd  Battalion  Royal 
Fusiliers  (Kensington),"  he  wrote,  "  I  am  sure  that  I  voice 
the  feelings  of  all  ranks  of  the  99th  Brigade  in  expressing 
our  deep  regret  that  we  have  to  part  with  such  comrades. 

"  Since  November,  1915,  under  the  able  leadership  of 
our  beloved  and  gallant  brigadier,  Brig. -General  R.  O. 
Kellett,  C.B.,  C.M.G.,  we  have  fought  together  in  the 
following  actions  : — Delville  Wood,  Vimy  Ridge,  Ancre, 
Miraumont,  Grevillers  Trench,  Oppy,  and  Cambrai,  in 
every  one  of  which  the  22nd  Royal  Fusiliers  played  a 
conspicuous  part.  The  mention  of  these  important 
actions,  in  which  we  have  added  fame  to  the  2nd  Division, 
is  sufficient  to  prove  the  magnificent  part  you  have  filled 
in  making  the  history  of  the  99th  Brigade. 

"  We  all  understand  with  what  feelings  you  must  view 
the  disbanding  of  your  fine  battalion.  We  know  full  well 
your  splendid  esprit  de  corps,  which  engendered  your  fine 
fighting  spirit.  We  know  of  the  N.C.O.'s  and  men  still 
with  you  who  gave  up  their  all  in  1914  to  join  you.  Nor 
do  we  forget  your  many  heroes  who  died  for  you  and  us  all. 

"  Knowing  full  well  all  this,  we  can  truly  offer  you  our 
heartfelt  sympathies  in  your  day  of  trial. 

"  The  22nd  Battalion  never  lost  a  yard  of  trench  or 
failed  their  comrades  in  the  day  of  battle.  Such  is  your 
record,  and  such  a  record  of  you  will  be  handed  down  to 
posterity. 

"  All  of  you,  I  am  thankful  to  say,  will  remain  in  our 
famous  division,  and  300  of  you  in  the  old  brigade. 


GENERAL  BARNETT  BARKER      19 

"  I  know  that  the  22nd  Royal  Fusiliers  will  accept  the 
inevitable  in  their  usual  fine  spirit,  and  will  in  time  transfer 
the  esprit  de  corps  they  always  prized  so  dearly  to  their 
sister  battalions. 

"  I  feel  certain  their  sister  battalions  will  welcome  them 
with  open  arms  and  endeavour  to  heal  the  sores  they  now 
so  intensely  feel. 

"  As  one  who  served  with  you  from  the  day  of  your 
foundation  to  your  disbandment  (except  for  two  months) , 
I  know  full  well  what  this  step  means  to  you  all. 

"  I  also  know  that,  though  the  22nd  Battalion  Royal 
Fusiliers  has  ceased  to  exist  as  a  unit,  you  will  not  forget 
that  we  are  all  Englishmen  fighting  Germans,  and  that 
the  fine,  indomitable  spirit  of  the  battalion  will  still  carry 
you  on  until  the  one  red  and  two  white  stars  are  inscribed 
on  the  forts  of  the  Rhine." 

The  23rd  and  24th  were  the  Sportsman's  Battalions, 
which  owed  their  origin  to  Mrs.  Cunliffe-Owen,*  daughter 
of  the  late  Sir  Philip  Cunliffe-Owen,  K.C.B.,  and  wife  of 
the  late  Edward  Cunliffe-Owen,  C.M.G. 

The  idea  arose  quite  spontaneously.  Mrs.  Cunliffe- 
Owen,  on  rallying  some  men-friends  for  not  being  in  khaki, 
was  challenged  to  raise  a  battalion  of  middle  and  upper 
class  men  up  to  the  age  of  forty-five.  She  promptly  went 
with  them  to  a  post-office  and  telegraphed  to  Lord 
Kitchener,  "  Will  you  accept  complete  battalion  of  upper 
and  middle  class  men,  physically  fit,  able  to  shoot  and 
ride,  up  to  the  age  of  forty-five  ?  "  The  reply  was, 
"  Lord  Kitchener  gratefully  accepts  complete  battalion." 
The  India  Room,  Hotel  Cecil,  was  taken  for  a  month, 
a  dozen  ex-officers  were  begged  from  the  Officers'  Associa- 
tion, and  the  enrolment  began.  Each  applicant,  in  the 
presence  of  one  of  these  ex-officers,  filled  in  a  form  stating 
his  chest  measurement,  height,  weight,  nationality,  and 
whether  he  could  shoot  and  ride  and  walked  well.  The 
form  was  then  taken  to  a  screened-off  part  of  the  room, 
where  Mrs.  Cunliffe-Owen  signed  it.     The  men  were  then 

*  Now  Mrs.  Cunliffe  Stamford. 

c  2 


20      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

sent  to  a  recruiting  office  to  be  medically  examined  and 
attested. 

The  first  battalion  was  complete  in  four  weeks,  and 
Mrs.  Cunliffe-Owen  hustled  a  contractor  into  putting  up 
a  fully  equipped  and  model  camp  in  nineteen  days.  These 
were  astounding  achievements.  Most  other  battalions 
raised  outside  the  War  Office  regime  called  upon  more  or  less 
elaborate  organisations.  Mrs.  Cunliffe-Owen  formed  her 
own  organisation,  looked  into  everything — even  the  menu — 
and  pushed  the  scheme  through  to  a  triumphant  success. 

The  23rd  Royal  Fusiliers,  in  uniform  with  full  band, 
marched  through  the  streets  of  London  to  entrain  at 
Liverpool  Street  Station  for  Hornchurch,  Essex,  after 
being  inspected  in  Hyde  Park  by  Colonel  Maitland.  On 
March  17th,  1915,  the  24th  Royal  Fusiliers  (2nd  Sports- 
man's) were  inspected  on  the  Horse  Guards'  parade 
ground  by  Brig.-General  Kellett,  who,  after  thanking  Mrs. 
Cunliffe-Owen  in  the  name  of  the  King  and  the  nation  for 
raising  two  such  fine  battalions  and  congratulating  her 
on  being  the  only  woman  in  the  world  to  have  achieved 
such  a  feat,  requested  her  to  take  the  salute.  The  recruits 
for  these  battalions  were  a  fine  body  of  men,  and  were 
drawn  from  all  parts  of  the  world.  "  A  man  who  had 
gone  up  the  Yukon  with  Frank  Slavin,  the  boxer ;  another 
who  had  been  sealing  round  Alaska ;  trappers  from  the 
Canadian  woods ;  railway  engineers  from  the  Argentine  ; 
planters  from  Ceylon :  big-game  hunters  from  Central 
Africa  ;  others  from  China,  Japan,  the  Malay  States, 
India,  Egypt — these  were  just  a  few  .  .  ."  *  of  those 
who  presented  themselves  at  the  Hotel  Cecil  in  the  autumn 
of  1914. 

The  connection  of  the  23rd  and  24th  with  London  was 
very  intimate.  They  did  physical  jerks  in  Savoy  Street, 
and  were  put  through  their  early  paces  in  the  very  heart 
of  London.  The  men  were  all  big  fellows,  the  average 
height  being  over  6  feet,  and  they   took  to  their  work 

*  The  lyd  Service  Battalion,  Royal  Fusiliers  (First  Sportsman's), 
by  Fred  W.  Ward,  p.  26. 


THE  SPORTSMAN'S  BATTALIONS  21 

gaily.  Both  battalions  formed  part  of  the  99th  Brigade 
of  the  33rd  Division  at  first ;  but  almost  immediately 
after  their  arrival  in  France  on  November  17th,  1915, 
the  24th  Battalion  was  placed  in  the  5th  Brigade.  At 
the  same  time  the  brigade  lost  the  17th  Battalion.  These 
changes  were  carried  out  in  accordance  with  the  reorganisa- 
tion of  the  2nd  and  33rd  Divisions  into  brigades,  each 
consisting  of  two  new  and  two  regular  battalions.  From 
first  to  last  4,987  officers  and  men  served  overseas  in  the 
23rd  Battalion,  and  their  casualty  list  came  to  a  total 
of  3,241. 

Mrs.  Cunliffe-Owen  had  supplied  1,500  fully  trained 
officers  to  the  army  by  April,  1915,  and  when  she  formally 
handed  over  the  two  battalions  to  the  War  Office  on  July 
31st,  1915,  she  did  not  cease  to  follow  their  fortunes. 
She  wrote  to  every  sick  and  wounded  man,  and  visited 
most  of  them  in  hospital.  She,  furthermore,  raised  the 
nucleus  of  the  30th  Royal  Fusiliers  as  a  training  reserve 
battalion,  and  put  up  the  Eagle  Hut  in  the  Strand  as 
extra  recruiting  offices  for  them.  F.  C.  Selous  was  one 
of  the  24th 's  most  eminent  recruits.  He  was  already  an 
old  man,  but  he  enlisted  as  a  private.  Another  distin- 
guished recruit  was  Warneford,  who,  after  four  months' 
service  in  the  battalion,  joined  the  Royal  Air  Force,  and 
gained  the  Victoria  Cross  for  first  bringing  down  a  Zeppelin. 
When  the  23rd  Battalion  was  demobilised,  Mrs.  Cunliffe- 
Owen  was  presented  with  one  of  the  original  drums  as  a 
souvenir. 

To  many  it  will  seem  that  the  field  from  which  the  25th 
(Service)  Battalion  was  chosen  resembled  that  which  pro- 
vided the  Sportsman's  Battalion  ;  and,  indeed,  there  was 
a  distinct  similarity.  But  the  Frontiersmen  who  formed 
the  25th  were  already  an  existing  organisation.  Numbers 
of  the  Legion  passed  through  London  soon  after  the  out- 
break of  the  war  and  found  a  home  in  various  units. 

But  on  February  12th,  1915,  Colonel  Driscoll,  who  led 
"  Driscoll's  Scouts "  in  the  South  African  War,  was 
informed  that  approval  had  been  given  for  the  raising  of 


22      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

"  an  infantry  battalion  1,000  strong,  to  be  called  the  25th 
(Sendee)  Battalion,  Royal  Fusiliers  (Frontiersmen)."  It 
was  stated  later  that  the  battalion  was  to  be  used  to  stiffen 
troops  in  East  Africa,  then  invaded  by  German  troops. 
Within  three  weeks  of  the  subsequent  appeal,  the  unit  had 
raised  more  than  the  required  strength.  About  a  third  of 
the  men  were  members  of  the  Legion  ;  and  the  battalion 
included  men  of  various  ages  and  with  strange  experience 
from  all  quarters  of  the  globe.  Among  them  were  F.  C. 
Selous,  the  famous  big-game  hunter,  explorer  and  natura- 
list, who  had  been  a  private  in  the  24th,  Cherry  Kearton, 
Martin  Ryan  and  George  Outram.  On  April  10th  the 
battalion — accepted  and  sent  on  active  service  without 
preliminary  training,  the  only  unit  so  treated  during  the 
war — embarked  1,166  strong  at  Plymouth.  They  had 
travelled  nearly  6,000  miles  vid  Aden  before  they  reached 
Mombasa,  on  May  4th.  Fighting  in  East  Africa  involved 
the  overcoming  of  two  enemies,  nature  and  the  Germans  ; 
and  so  terrible  did  the  first  prove,  even  to  such  hardened 
and  splendid  adventurers,  that  by  Christmas,  1916,  only 
60  of  the  original  unit  remained  in  the  field,  and  a  draft  of 
600  were  sent  out.  The  25th  certainly  left  a  name  in  East 
Africa  and  secured  a  V.C.  (Lieutenant  W.  Dartnell). 
But  this  is  a  trite  summary  of  a  campaign  that  proved  a 
heavier  strain  on  endurance  than  any  other. 

The  26th  (Service)  Battalion  the  Royal  Fusiliers 
(Bankers)  was  raised  early  in  1915  from  bank  clerks  and 
accountants  by  Major  William  Pitt,  an  old  Volunteer 
officer  ;  and  it  had  Sir  Charles  Johnston  and  Sir  Charles 
Wakefield,  two  Lord  Mayors  of  London,  as  honorary 
colonels.  Drawn  from  all  parts  of  the  country,  the  men 
carried  through  the  first  part  of  their  training  at  Marlow 
and  High  Beech  ;  and,  made  up  to  full  strength  in 
November,  the  battalion  moved  to  Aldershot,  becoming 
part  of  the  124th  Brigade  of  the  41st  Division,  com- 
manded by  Sir  Sydney  Lawford.  Under  command  of 
Lieut. -Colonel  the  Hon.  W.  F.  North  they  embarked  for 
France  on  May  4th. 


SERVICE   IN   RUSSIA  23 

The  26th  was  one  of  the  two  Fusilier  battalions  to  see 
service  in  Italy  ;  but  they  were  brought  back  to  France 
early  in  1918  in  time  for  the  German  March  offensive. 

In  order  to  retain  even  the  battalions  enumerated  at  full 
strength  a  number  of  special  training  reserve  units  were 
formed,  the  27th,  28th,  29th,  30th  and  31st,  being  raised 
and  used  for  this  purpose. 

The  29th  and  30th  Battalions,  who  sent  a  specially 
picked  Volunteer  Company  to  Russia  in  June,  1918,  were 
battalions  of  the  London  Regiment,  formed  of  low  category 
men  and  men  who  had  been  disabled  overseas.  This  was 
apparently  the  first  formed  British  infantry  unit  to  serve 
in  Russia  since  the  Crimea.  The  company  took  part  in 
most  of  the  operations  at  Murmansk,  and  in  July — 
August  went  to  Archangel.  From  the  landing  up  to  the 
capture  of  Oboyerskia  they  remained  in  the  Archangel 
area  and  returned  to  Murmansk  on  relief  by  American 
infantry.  Two  other  battalions  also  served  in  Russia,  the 
45th  and  46th,  and  the  former  won  two  V.C.'s.  Each  of 
these  was  awarded  long  after  the  war  proper  had  ended.* 
But  the  exploits  are  worthy  of  record  here. 

The  first  was  awarded  to  Corporal  Arthur  Percy  Sullivan 
For  most  conspicuous  bravery  and  devotion  to  duty  on 
August  10th,  1919,  at  the  Sheika  River,  North  Russia. 

The  platoon  to  which  he  belonged,  after  fighting  a  rear- 
guard covering  action,  had  to  cross  the  river  by  means  of 
a  narrow  plank,  and  during  the  passage  an  officer  and 
three  men  fell  into  a  deep  swamp. 

Without  hesitation,  under  intense  fire,  Corporal  Sullivan 
jumped  into  the  river  and  rescued  all  four,  bringing  them 
out  singly.  But  for  this  gallant  action  his  comrades 
would  undoubtedly  have  been  drowned.  It  was  a 
splendid  example  of  heroism  as  all  ranks  were  on  the  point 
of  exhaustion  and  the  enemy  less  than  100  yards  distant. 

And  the  second  to  Sergeant  Samuel  George  Pearse,  M.M. 

For  most  conspicuous  bravery,  devotion  to  duty  and 
self-sacrifice   during   the   operation   against   the   enemy 

*  See  note,  p.  2. 


24      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

battery  position  north  of  Emtsa  (North  Russia)  on 
August  29th,  1919. 

Sergeant  Pearse  cut  his  way  through  the  enemy  barbed 
wire  under  very  heavy  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire,  and 
cleared  a  way  for  the  troops  to  enter  the  battery  position. 

Seeing  that  a  blockhouse  was  harassing  our  advance 
and  causing  us  casualties,  he  charged  the  blockhouse 
single-handed,  killing  the  occupants  with  bombs. 

This  gallant  non-commissioned  officer  met  his  death  a 
minute  later,  and  it  was  due  to  him  that  the  position  was 
carried  with  so  few  casualties. 

His  magnificent  bravery  and  utter  disregard  for  per- 
sonal danger  won  for  him  the  admiration  of  all  troops. 

There  were  still  other  battalions  who  served  in  the 
operations  which  are  more  strictly  comprised  under  the 
title  The  Great  War.  The  Mayor  of  East  Ham  had  raised 
three  or  four  brigades  of  artillery  when  he  formed  the 
impression  that  an  infantry  battalion  could  also  be  formed. 
After  consultation  with  Major  F.  Cannon,  the  recruiting 
officer  at  East  Ham  and  Barking,  he  wrote  to  the  War  Office 
early  in  October,  1915,  and  approval  was  given,  subject 
to  the  proviso  that  if  600  men  were  not  raised  before 
Christmas  the  approval  would  be  withdrawn.  Major 
Cannon  took  up  the  recruiting,  and  in  the  first  three  weeks 
secured  only  one  recruit,  a  typist,  who  was  employed  in 
the  office.  A  few  more  offered  themselves  early  in  Novem- 
ber, and  at  the  end  of  the  month  the  total  sprang  to  500. 
Only  one  N.C.O.,  C.Q.M.S.  Childs,  afterwards  killed  in 
action  while  serving  with  the  10th  Queen's,  was  available 
to  pay,  billet  and  look  after  the  new  recruits.  Major 
Cannon  was  placed  in  command,  and  the  other  units  of  the 
regiment  supplied  officers.  At  Christmas  the  battalion 
(the  32nd)  was  ordered  to  Aldershot  and  remained  there 
until  May  5th,  when  it  embarked  for  France  under  the 
command  of  Lieut. -Colonel  Key,  of  the  Yorks  and  Lanes. 
Regiment,  who  had  lately  returned  from  Gallipoli.  The 
men  were  quick  to  learn  and,  though  the  officers  were 
drawn   from   various   units,   the   battalion   worked   well 


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LABOUR  UNITS  25 

together,  and  with  the  26th  did  good  service  in  the 
war. 

An  honourable  group  of  units  was  formed  as  Labour 
battalions.  Among  these  were  the  34th,  35th,  36th  and 
37th  Battalions,  which  were  raised  in  the  spring  of  1916  at 
Falmer,  near  Lewes,  and  left  for  France  in  June.  Colonel 
N.  A.  K.  Burne  was  in  command  of  the  35th,  Colonel  G.  E. 
Even,  C.B.,  of  the  36th,  and  Colonel  Savage  of  the  37th. 
The  battalions  served  in  various  parts  of  the  country, 
unloading  ships,  making  roads,  or  constructing  ammunition 
dumps.  While  working  on  a  ship  at  Rouen  in  the  morning 
of  January  28th,  1917,  Private  Noble  slipped  on  the  gang- 
way and  fell  into  the  Seine.  It  was  bitterly  cold  and  the 
Seine  was  crowded  with  boulders  of  drift  ice.  In  spite  of 
this  Private  Robert  Barker,  of  the  35th  Labour  Battalion, 
finding  that  Noble  could  not  swim,  jumped  into  the  river 
and  supported  him  until  both  could  be  pulled  out.  He  was 
awarded  the  Royal  Humane  Society's  Testimonial  on 
Vellum  for  this  brave  action. 

But  for  the  most  part  the  work  of  the  Labour  battalions 
did  not  offer  the  opportunity  of  spectacular  actions.  The 
men  worked  steadily  and  well.  The  work  was  heavy,  and 
for  some  time  the  35th  worked  in  shifts,  by  night  as  well 
as  day,  unloading  heavy  gun  ammunition  from  ships  at 
Rouen.  In  May,  1917,  the  Labour  battalions  were  broken 
up  and  formed  into  Labour  companies  of  500  each,  the 
35th  becoming  the  103rd  and  104th  Infantry  Labour 
Companies ;  the  36th,  the  105th  and  106th  Labour 
Companies  ;  the  37th,  the  107th  and  108th  Companies. 
Sergeant  Lyles,  of  the  36th,  was  among  those  who,  at  the 
end  of  the  war,  received  a  decoration,  being  awarded  the 
M.S.M. 

Another  group  of  battalions  was  composed  of  Jewish 
recruits.  When  the  idea  was  first  mooted  in  the  autumn 
of  1915  by  Mr.  Joseph  Cowen  and  Dr.  Eder,  it  met  with 
no  sympathy  at  the  War  Office.  But  in  April,  1915,  the 
Zion  Mule  Corps  was  formed  in  Alexandria,  Egypt,  by 
some  500  or  600  Palestinian  refugees  and  local  Jews.     It 


26      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

was  commanded  by  Lieut. -Colonel  J.  H.  Patterson,  D.S.O., 
and  did  good  service  in  Gallipoli,  but  was  disbanded  in 
the  summer  of  1916.  About  100  of  its  members  re-en- 
listed in  the  British  Army,  were  brought  to  London  and 
posted  to  the  20th  London  (Territorials).  They  after- 
wards formed  the  nucleus  of  Jewish  N.C.O.'s  and 
instructors  for  the  Jewish  infantry  battalions. 

In  the  meantime  the  old  idea  had  sprung  to  life  once 
more  and  the  Government  was  pressed  to  allow  the 
formation  of  a  Jewish  unit  for  Palestine.  The  movement 
was  led  by  Mr.  Vladimir  Jabotinsky,  and  was  strongly 
supported  by  Dr.  Weizmann,  the  President  of  the  Zionist 
Organisation.  In  April,  1917,  the  War  Cabinet  decided 
to  allow  the  formation  of  the  unit.  In  August  its  forma- 
tion was  announced  under  the  name  of  "  Jewish  Regiment 
of  Infantry "  ;  but  this  description  was  subsequently 
withdrawn  and  the  Jewish  battalions  became  the  38th  to 
42nd  Royal  Fusiliers,  with  their  depot  at  22,  Chenies 
Street,  W.C.,  and  their  camp  at  Plymouth.  The  battalions 
were  chiefly  intended  for  the  reception  of  Russian  Jews,  to 
be  enlisted  under  a  special  convention  with  M.  Kerensky's 
Government.  Permission  to  use  Kosher  food  was  granted 
with  the  assurance  that  the  battalions  would  be  employed 
on  the  Palestine  front,  and  would  be  granted  a  Jewish 
name  and  badge  if  they  distinguished  themselves. 

About  2,000  Jews  joined  from  England,  a  proportion 
of  them  being  volunteers.  Their  enlistment  was  stopped 
after  the  fall  of  M.  Kerensky's  Government  and  the 
victory  of  the  Bolsheviks  in  Russia  ;  but,  in  the  beginning 
of  1918,  a  widespread  movement  of  voluntary  recruiting 
began  in  the  United  States  and  Canada.  Jews  in  the 
Argentine  were  also  allowed  to  enlist,  and  practically  the 
whole  of  the  able-bodied  young  Jews  in  the  liberated  part 
of  Palestine  (Judea)  applied  to  be  enlisted.  These  various 
sources  involved  large  numbers  ;  but  owing  to  technical 
difficulties  connected  with  the  numerous  nationalities  and 
difficulties  of  transport,  only  a  small  proportion  of  those 
overseas  could  actually  be  enlisted.     But  altogether  about 


JEWISH  BATTALIONS   IN   PALESTINE       27 

10,000  joined  the  Jewish  battalions,  of  whom  over  three- 
quarters  were  volunteers;  and  some  5,000  actually  served 
in  Palestine.  The  recruiting  campaign  in  the  United 
States,  Canada,  the  Argentine,  and  especially  Palestine, 
evoked  unprecedented  enthusiasm,  both  Zionist  and 
pro-British. 

The  38th  Battalion,  under  Lieut. -Colonel  J.  H.  Patterson, 
landed  in  Egypt  in  January,  1918,  to  complete  their 
training,  and  went  to  the  front  in  June,  1918.  They 
reached  Ludd  on  June  6th,  and  were  inspected  by  General 
Allenby,  for  the  second  time.  After  a  few  days  they 
marched  off  to  take  their  share  in  the  line  and  took  over 
the  three  miles  lying  between  Jiljilia  (some  three  miles 
west  of  the  Nablus  road)  and  Abwein.  They  speedily 
won  their  spurs  in  the  tasks  of  the  hour — scouting, 
patrolling  and  trench  digging — and  were  then  given  a 
most  trying  part  of  the  line  in  the  Jordan  valley.  The 
seven  miles  for  which  they  were  responsible  stretched 
westward  from  the  Jordan  above  Jericho,  and  seemed  at 
times  to  be  almost  an  island  in  a  sea  of  enemies.  On  the 
west  was  a  gap  which  offered  a  constant  invitation  to 
the  enemy  ;  but  the  battalion  ably  supported  the  Anzac 
Mounted  Division  in  harrying  the  Turks  and  discovering 
their  plans.  They  also  took  part  in  Allenby's  attack  in 
September  by  capturing  the  ford  of  Umm-esh-Shert  on 
the  night  of  the  21st,  and  so  enabling  the  mounted  troops 
to  cross  the  river  towards  Es  Salt  (Ramoth  Gilead)  and 
outflank  the  Turks.  In  this  operation  they  were  assisted 
by  the  39th  battalion,  commanded  by  Lieut. -Colonel  E.  L. 
Margolin,  a  former  officer  of  the  Australian  Expeditionary 
Force.  The  force  known  as  Patterson's  column  crossed 
the  Jordan  and  occupied  the  road  between  Tel  Nimrin 
and  Es  Salt  until  the  collapse  of  the  Fourth  Turkish 
Army  and  Second  Turkish  Corps,  when  they  returned  to 
Jerusalem  with  a  large  body  of  Turkish  and  German 
prisoners.  They  had  performed  distinguished  service, 
and  were  awarded  a  number  of  distinctions. 

The   40th   Battalion   consisted  chiefly  of    Palestinian 


28      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

recruits.  Many  Turkish  Jews,  who  were  prisoners  of  war 
in  Egypt,  asked  permission  to  join,  and  150  of  them  were 
accepted.  They  were  trained  at  Tel-el-Kebir  and  were 
employed  on  garrison  duty  during  the  autumn  and  winter 
of  1918-1919.  Their  first  commander  was  Lieut. -Colonel 
Scott,  who  was  succeeded  by  Lieut. -Colonel  F.  Samuel. 

These  battalions  had  some  well-known  recruits.  Major 
James  de  Rothschild  was  in  the  39th.  Jacob  Epstein  was 
for  some  time  a  private  in  the  38th.  Anton  Tchaikov, 
the  violinist,  and  now  the  Director  of  the  School  of  Music 
at  Jerusalem,  was  at  first  a  private  and  later  a  sergeant 
in  the  38th.  Mr.  V.  Jabotinsky,  the  initiator  of  the 
movement,  was  a  sergeant  and  later  honorary  lieutenant 
in  the  38th  ;  and  M.  Smeliansky,  the  well-known  Jewish 
novelist,  was  a  corporal  in  the  40th,  who  also  numbered 
among  their  privates  Mr.  Vinnik,  the  Chemical  Director 
of  the  Rishon  Wine  Cellars,  and  Mr.  Ben  Zivi,  a  member 
of  the  Advisory  Council  to  the  High  Commissioner  for 
Palestine.  Other  names  of  distinguished  and  remarkable 
men  who  enlisted  in  these  battalions  might  be  quoted  ; 
but  it  is  obvious  that  the  units  started  with  a  strangely 
ideal  impetus  and  naturally  cast  a  wide  net  among  Jews. 
The  41st  and  42nd  Battalions  were  formed  as  draft- 
training  units  for  the  three  battalions  on  active  service, 
and  were  stationed  at  Plymouth. 

All  these  battalions  performed  good  service.  During 
the  trouble  in  Egypt  these  were  practically  the  only  white 
infantry  troops  in  Palestine.  They  guarded  the  whole 
railway  line  from  Romani  up  to  Ludd-Haifa-Semach.  In 
the  autumn  of  1919  they  were  officially  given  the  name 
"  Judeans  "  with  a  special  badge  "  theMenora  "  (the  eight- 
branched  candlestick,  the  symbol  of  the  Maccabeans),  with 
the  Hebrew  word  "  Kadima  "  ("  Forwards  and  East- 
wards ").  The  sleeve  badge  Shield  of  David  (38th, 
purple  ;  39th,  red  ;  40th,  blue)  was  granted  in  1918. 

The  Territorial  battalions  mobilised  at  the  outbreak  of 
war  and  first  acted  as  guard  to  the  London  and  South 
Western  Railway  main  lines.     On  September  4th  they 


THE  TERRITORIALS  29 

embarked  for  Malta,  and  after  a  period  of  service  there  left 
for  France  on  January  2nd,  1915.  Second  line  battalions 
were  formed  when  the  first  line  battalions  left  England, 
and  these  later  became  the  units  of  the  173rd  Brigade  of 
the  58th  Division,  as  the  first  line  units  joined  the  56th 
Division.  Third  line  battalions  were  formed  when  the 
second  line  left  England  for  Malta  in  December,  1914  ; 
and  fourth  line  battalions  were  raised  as  draft-forming 
units.  These  battalions  were  telescoped  towards  the  end 
of  the  war  as  a  consequence  of  severe  losses  and  the  drain 
of  supporting  three  battalions  per  unit,  i.e.,  twelve  batta- 
lions in  all.  The  third  lines  generally  became  the  second 
line  battalions,  and  at  least  one  second  line  battalion 
disappeared  as  a  distinct  entity.  The  draft-forming  units 
were  also  turned  into  one.  The  battalions  of  the  London 
Regiment  distinguished  themselves  in  many  battles  of  the 
war,  and,  like  the  new  service,  labour  and  training  batta- 
lions, were  proud  of  being  Royal  Fusiliers.  At  times,  it 
was  said  that  the  war  was  mechanical,  but  no  one  can 
study  the  expansion  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  without  being 
more  conscious  of  the  spiritual  side.  It  was  largely  the 
old  leaven  of  a  famous  regiment  which  turned  these 
strangely  assorted  units  into  splendid  righting  battalions 

who  left  their  mark  on  the  history  of  the  war. 

*  *  #  *  * 

Such  in  brief  outline  is  the  field  covered  by  this 
book.  The  sources  are  the  battalion  diaries,  personal 
diaries  of  officers,  special  accounts  of  particular  incidents 
contributed  by  soldiers  actually  engaged  in  them,  a 
considerable  number  of  letters  and  numerous  conversations 
with  officers  of  various  battalions. 

A  very  interesting  chapter  could  be  made  of  the  official 
diaries.  A  certain  high  officer  drew  attention  to  the  low 
standard  attained  by  the  units  of  his  command  in  this 
matter  ;  but  the  suggestions  made  for  improvement  are 
not  always  beyond  criticism.  The  weather  is  "  never  "  a 
necessary  entry,  it  is  stated.  This  is  obviously  unsound. 
The  weather  is  a  deciding  factor  in  many  operations  ;  and 


30      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

when  of  two  battalions  in  the  same  area,  one  attacks  and 
the  other  desists  on  account  of  the  weather — an  actual  case 
of  two  Fusilier  battalions — it  becomes  absolutely  necessary 
to  know  the  circumstances  in  detail.  There  is  also  a 
presumably  sarcastic  remark  that  the  regimental  historian 
will  shrink  from  the  statement  that  "  the  battalion  played 
the  Brigade  H.Q.  at  baseball  and  beat  them."  On  the 
contrary.  When  the  men  play  their  football  matches 
there  is  a  clear  indication  of  the  morale  of  the  unit ;  and 
when,  as  in  a  particular  case,  a  battalion  is  stated  to  have 
been  too  tired  to  carry  out  its  fixtures  it  is  reasonably 
certain  that  the  unit  was  too  weary  to  be  of  much  use  in 
active  operations.  A  final  statement  that  "  it  is  certainly 
not  necessary  to  state  when  officers  went  on  and  returned 
from  leave  "  is  clearly  absurd. 

It  is  frequently  most  difficult  to  discover  who  was 
actually  in  charge  of  a  given  operation  ;  and  unless  the 
command  is  stated  in  detail  before  every  engagement,  the 
only  indication  of  the  sort  of  force  that  went  into  action 
is  provided  by  the  notes  about  leave. 

But  the  actual  diaries  are  singularly  instructive.  Those 
of  the  Regular  battalions  are  almost  invariably  restrained 
and  bald  to  an  irritating  degree.  The  new  battalions,  on 
the  contrary,  give  much  information,  some  of  it  naive  to  an 
almost  incredible  extent,  some  of  it  most  interesting  to 
the  historian,  all  of  it  useful  in  forming  a  picture  of  the 
unit.  All  the  mechanism  of  posting  sentries,  carrying  out 
reliefs,  standing-to,  etc.,  is  described  by  one  tireless 
diarist.  Everything  is  put  down  coldly  and  carefully, 
with  machine-like  detachment,  until  the  battalion  goes  to 
Murrumbidgee  Camp.  Nothing  hitherto  had  disturbed 
the  perfection  of  this  officer's  self-possession.  But  there 
was  something  about  this  camp  that  stirred  him  to  his 
depths  ;  and,  in  place  of  the  usual  carefully  dispassionate 
description,  he  states  that  the  camp  is  "  a  filthy  hole  with 
a  debauched  and  frozen  bath-house  which  battalion  is 
supposed  to  work." 

Another  diarist  ventures  the  callow  remark  "  One  of  our 


THE  BATTALION   DIARIES  31 

Lewis  guns  claimed  to  have  hit  a  German  who  exposed 
himself."  A  little  later  we  find  him  slaughtering  whole 
units  without  any  tentative  claims.  Another  diarist  is 
perpetually  reporting  the  remains  of  dead  soldiers.  Either 
he  was  morbidly  interested  in  this  or  the  battalion  had  an 
unusually  gruesome  experience.  There  is  a  certain 
humour  in  the  description  of  a  shelling  of  billets  which 
concludes:  "  One  man  hit  on  pay  parade."  And  surely, 
as  the  full  description  of  an  early  spring  day,  the  following 
can  hardly  be  beaten  :  "  Snowed  heavily.  Men  rested 
and  bathed.  Football  match."  A  man  who  could  write 
in  that  vein  was  certainly  innocent  of  shell-shock  !  One 
diarist  kills  three  men  on  two  different  occasions,  with  full 
details.  But  as  a  tour  deforce  the  description  by  a  diarist 
of  a  certain  battalion  which  went  through  the  great 
retreat  in  March,  1918,  stands  supreme.  On  March  25th 
every  unit  appears  to  be  retiring  about  him.  The  provi- 
sional line  is  crumbling.  There  is  amazing  confusion. 
Then  comes  the  statement  "  4  p.m.  Artillery  falling  short 
on  X  (a  neighbouring  division).  Brigade  informed. 
Quiet  evening."  This  from  a  "  K  "  battalion  is  suggestive. 
One  wonders  what  a  disturbed  evening  would  havebeen  like. 
But  the  diaries  are  not  always  complete.  One  battalion 
diary  gives  no  map  references  for  the  first  seventeen 
months,  and  the  first  map  reference  does  not  give  the 
number  of  the  sheet.  Frequently,  perhaps  invariably, 
the  diaries  give  the  position  of  battalion  headquarters, 
though  part  of  the  battalion  may  have  billeted  some  miles 
away.  In  most  cases  this  would  be  of  little  importance. 
But  in  the  case  of  the  4th  Battalion  at  Mons  on  the  night 
of  the  battle  in  1914,  it  is  of  the  first  importance  to  know 
that  part  of  the  battalion  slept  north  of  the  fine  which 
von  Kluck  appears  to  have  reported  held  by  one  of  his 
corps  !  The  battalion  diary  gives  the  locus  of  the  battalion 
that  night  as  Ciply.  Captain  Harding  notes  that  they 
slept  that  night  in  a  field  "  at  Mons  Hospital."  * 

*  Lieutenant  Longman,  of  the  same  company,  says  "  Nimy  Hospital." 
This  is  clearly  a  slip  for  Mons. 


32      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

At  times,  where  detail  is  most  desirable,  incidents  have 
had  to  be  slurred  over  because  of  a  complete  conflict  of 
evidence.  The  time  for  anonymous  heroes  would  seem 
to  have  passed  ;  but,  with  the  perversity  of  the  Regular 
battalions  impelling  them  to  cover  up  their  deeds  and  the 
conflict  of  evidence  where  the  broad  outlines  are  given, 
it  will  still  require  years  of  research  before  the  full  flower 
of  the  British  soldiers'  achievement  can  be  known. 


CHAPTER  II 

FIRST   BATTLES — MONS   TO   THE   AISNE 

In  England  the  first  contact  of  the  British  forces  with 
the  German  Army  formed  a  unique  episode.  Other  en- 
counters took  on  a  grander  colouring ;  others  were  viewed 
with  a  graver  anxiety.  But  the  battle  of  Mons,  which 
saw  the  first  entry  of  the  British  Army  into  the  world  war, 
stirred  the  emotions  deeper  than  any  subsequent  action. 

It  was  not  in  this  way,  however,  that  the  army  first  gave 
battle.  The  4th  Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers  engaged  at 
Mons  with  a  coolness  which  is  bewildering  and  almost 
distressing  to  the  civilian.  Stationed  at  Parkhurst  at  the 
outbreak  of  war,  it  had  reported  mobilised  before  midnight 
on  August  8th.  It  began  to  move  on  the  12th  and  sailed 
for  Havre  at  6  p.m.  on  the  following  day.  The  speed  and 
smoothness  of  its  preparations  had  outpaced  the  arrange- 
ments for  its  reception ;  and  only  the  Northumberland 
Fusiliers  of  the  9th  Brigade  could  be  accommodated  in 
tents  at  the  rest  camp  at  Harfleur.  The  weather  was  hot. 
The  battalion  had  embodied  734  reservists  ;  and  as  the 
troops  struggled  up  the  steep  hill  to  the  rest  camp  after  a 
seven  mile  march  about  97  fell  out. 

The  men  had  met  with  an  enthusiastic  reception  at 
Havre.  French  soldiers  on  the  quay  gave  them  a  hearty 
welcome,  and  the  troops  did  their  best  to  show  their  sense 
of  gratitude  by  whistling  the  "  Marseillaise."  By  a 
transition  which  needs  no  explanation  to  those  who  know 
the  ordinary  Tommy,  they  then  turned  to  "  Hold  your 
hand  out,  naughty  boy."  This,  sung  with  great  fervour 
and  seriousness,  was  received  with  bared  heads  by  the 
French,  who  quite  pardonably  thought  it  the  British 
National  Anthem.     It  was  a  great  day,   and  even  the 

F.  D 


34      ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

settling  down  into  orchards  for  the  night  did  not  chasten 
the  men's  spirits. 

But  that  night  a  terrific  thunderstorm  burst  over  the 
camp,  and  the  men,  lying  in  the  open,  were  soaked  to  the 
skin.  The  rain  came  down  in  torrents  and  it  continued 
almost  to  the  moment  when,  on  the  16th,  the  battalion 
entrained  for  the  concentration  area.  The  train  slowly 
crossed  the  country  via  Amiens  to  Landrecies,  and  every- 
where on  the  line  were  cheering  French  crowds  with 
presents  of  flowers.  Early  on  the  17th  the  battalion 
arrived  at  Landrecies  and  marched  to  Noyelles,  where, 
with  a  little  rest  and  marching,  the  men  got  into  condition. 
These  were  the  days  when  people  at  home  were  almost 
holding  their  breath  ;  but  if  they  could  have  seen  several 
officers  and  men  fishing  in  a  tiny  pond  and  catching 
minnows  on  pins  they  might  have  been  reassured,  or 
perhaps,  more  apprehensive  ! 

On  the  20th  the  battalion  left  Noyelles  for  Taisnaires, 
and  on  the  following  day  they  marched  out  as  advance 
guard  and  billeted  at  La  Longueville.  On  this  day  the 
outposts  of  the  9th  Brigade  lay  across  the  battlefield  of 
Malplaquet.  The  hour  of  departure  on  the  22nd  had  been 
fixed  at  4  a.m.  for  6.30  a.m.,  but  at  five  o'clock  a  message 
reached  brigade  headquarters  that  the  starting  time  was 
to  be  advanced  by  an  hour  and  a  half. 

The  4th  Battalion  were  on  the  march  before  5.15,  a 
very  remarkable  performance.  They  were  again  advance 
guard,  and  by  the  evening  they  had  reached  Nimy,  after 
meeting  with  an  enthusiastic  welcome  from  the  people 
of  Mons,  who  loaded  them  with  presents  of  eggs,  fruit, 
tobacco,  and  even  handkerchiefs.  The  position  at  this 
moment  deserves  notice.  Army  orders  issued  by  von 
Bulow  at  8  p.m.  on  the  22nd  showed  very  clearly  that  no 
appreciable  force  of  the  British  was  thought  to  be  within 
the  marching  radius  of  the  First  and  Second  German 
Armies.  On  the  other  hand,  the  British  Army  did  not 
expect  to  meet  with  anything  more  than  a  stimulating 
opposition  from  the  Germans.     It  is  necessary  to  bear  the 


Brig.-Gexeral    N.    R.    McMahon,    D.S.O.,    who    commanded 
4th  Royal  Fusiliers  from  Mons   to  Ypres. 


the 


DISPOSITIONS   AT  MONS  35 

latter  fact  in  mind  to  appreciate  the  dispositions  of  the 
Royal  Fusiliers. 

They  formed  part  of  the  9th  Brigade  of  the  3rd  Division, 
and  their  orders  were  to  the  effect  that  the  canal  was  to 
be  "  the  line  of  resistance."  But  on  the  night  of  the 
22nd  the  battalion  was  occupying  posts  covering  Ghlin, 
just  south  of  the  Bois  de  Ghlin  and  the  Bois  Brule.  There 
was  no  field  of  fire,  and  every  opportunity  for  unseen 
approach.  Such  a  position,  obviously,  would  have  been 
unthinkable  if  any  prolonged  defence  had  been  contem- 
plated ;  and,  indeed,  late  in  the  afternoon  the  men  were 
withdrawn  to  the  canal.  Even  now  there  were  strict 
orders  that  the  canal  bridges  should  not  be  destroyed 
without  explicit  orders  from  the  3rd  Division ;  and, 
finally,  the  general  disposition  of  the  line,  with  its  sharp 
salient  about  Mons,  sufficiently  emphasises  the  provisional 
nature  of  the  position  and  the  implied  probability  of  a 
light  encounter  and  a  subsequent  advance. 

Mons. — The  Royal  Fusiliers  were  to  bear  the  brunt  of  this 
misconception.  As  the  right-hand  battalion  of  the  brigade, 
they  were  disposed  along  the  western  face  of  the  canal  bend, 
with  the  charge  of  all  the  crossings  up  to  and  including 
Nimy  Bridge.  On  their  right  lay  the  4th  Middlesex, 
charged  with  the  defence  of  the  eastern  face  of  the  canal. 
The  left  (IX.)  corps  of  the  First  German  Army  was  engaged 
on  this  part  of  the  front,  each  of  the  two  battalions  in  the 
canal  bend  having  to  withstand  the  attack  of  two  regi- 
ments (each  of  three  battalions)  of  the  18th  Jager  Division. 
On  the  morning  of  the  23rd  the  battalion,  mustering  26 
officers  and  983  other  ranks,  was  disposed  as  follows  : — 

Y  (or  "  C  ")  Company,  under  Captain  Ashburner,  lay 
north  of  Nimy,  its  right  joining  with  the  4th  Middlesex, 
and  its  left  a  little  north  of  Lock  6.  Captain  Forster,  with 
two  platoons,  held  Nimy  Bridge  ;  the  two  other  platoons 
and  company  H.Q.  were  entrenched  at  the  railway  bridge 
and  on  the  canal  bank  to  the  left  of  it. 

Z  (or  "  D ")  Company,  under  Captain  Byng,  held 
positions  about  Lock  6  and  the  Ghlin-Mons  bridges. 

D  2 


36      ROYAL  FCSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

X  (or  "  B  ")  Company,  under  Captain  Carey,  lay  about 
Nimy  station  in  support,  at  battalion  headquarters  ;  and 
Captain  Cole  lay  with  the  battalion  reserve  W  (or  "  A  ") 
Company  north  of  Mons.  In  point  of  fact,  therefore,  the 
two  companies,  Y  and  Z,  were  on  the  defensive  against 
six  German  battalions. 


Sketch    Map    showing    the    General    Disposition     of   the   4TH 
Royal  Fusiliers  at  the  Battle  of  Mons. 

To  the  right  lies  the  hospital,  near  which  part  of  the  battalion  lay  on 

the  night  after  the  battle. 

The  march  to  Mons  had  been  trying,  and  there  was  no 
time  for  rest.  After  a  twenty  miles  tramp  the  men  were 
set  to  work  to  put  the  wood  position  about  Ghlin  into 
a  state  of  defence.  When  a  good  deal  of  labour  had  been 
spent  in  an  attempt  to  make  it  defensible,  the  men  were 
withdrawn  to  the  canal  line.  Captain  Byng's  company 
still  lay  on  both  sides  of  the  canal ;  and  at  first  the  main 
position  was  on  the  German  side.  The  Ghlin-Mons 
railway  bridge  was  blocked  by  the  ingenious  expedient 


THE  FIRST  SHOTS  37 

of  wheeling  cable  drums  thither  and  then  turning  them 
over  on  their  sides.  But  Z  Company  was  not  seriously 
attacked  except  during  the  last  three-quarters  of  an  hour 
before  the  retirement.  The  heavier  attack  was  delivered 
against  the  Nimy  bridges,  and  particularly  the  railway 
bridge.  On  the  eastern  face  of  the  canal  the  German 
attack  was  made  more  advantageously,  because  un- 
hampered by  buildings.  To  avoid  a  similar  handicap 
on  the  western  side,  the  Germans  made  little  attempt 
against  Nimy  Bridge,  which  is  covered  by  houses  and 
buildings,  and  in  any  case  was  swung  back,  but  struck 
more  violently  against  the  railway  bridge  and  its  neigh- 
bourhood, where  the  ground  was  opener.  The  German 
side  of  the  bridge  was  blocked  by  a  wire  entanglement, 
and  across  the  track  within  the  canal  loop  a  trench  had 
been  dug.  The  railway  embankment  stood  high  and  the 
trees  on  its  sides  gave  some  cover  to  the  troops  between 
it  and  the  Nimy  Bridge.  The  two  machine  guns  were  in 
small  emplacements  built  on  either  buttress  of  the  railway 
bridge,  the  right  one,  with  a  fair  radius  of  action  command- 
ing the  flats,  below  the  bridge.  They  afforded  an 
inevitable  focussing  point  for  the  German  fire. 

It  was  a  body  of  very  weary  men  who  met  the  Germans 
on  the  morning  of  the  23rd,  for  many  of  them  had  been 
working  practically  all  night.  The  Germans  could  be 
heard  moving  about  in  the  woods  north  of  the  canal  in 
the  dark,  and  early  in  the  morning  a  cavalry  patrol 
consisting  of  an  officer  and  about  six  men  suddenly 
appeared  on  the  Nimy  road.  They  galloped  straight 
towards  the  bridge,  which  was  swung  round,  making  an 
impassable  obstacle.  The  Fusiliers  opened  fire,  shot 
four  of  the  men  and  wounded  the  officer.  Two  of  the 
men  were  apparently  untouched,  and  rode  off.  The 
officer,  with  his  horse  shot  and  wounded  in  the  leg,  was 
captured.  By  a  singular  irony  it  was  Lieutenant  von 
Arnim,  son  of  the  commander  of  the  IV.  *  German  Army 
Corps.     He    was    wearing    his    Death's    Head    Hussar 

*  Engaged  against  the  left  of  Smith-Dorrien's  corps. 


38       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

uniform  ;  but  the  brave  show  merely  threw  into  higher 
relief  the  folly  of  his  action.  His  notebook  showed  that 
he  had  been  observing  the  British  position  from  the  edge 
of  the  wood.  An  aeroplane  had  been  seen  making  a 
thorough  reconnaissance  of  the  position  the  night  before  ; 
but,  despite  this  activity,  the  Germans  were  in  complete 
ignorance  of  the  dimensions  of  the  force  in  front  of  them, 
and  when,  at  about  ten  o'clock,  they  opened  the  attack, 
they  appeared  above  the  skyline,  approaching  the  railway 
and  Nimy  bridges  in  column  of  route.  They  were  only 
about  1,000  yards  distant ;  and  the  rapid  fire,  assisted  by 
the  machine  guns,  in  a  few  minutes  destroyed  their  leading 
section  of  fours.  The  men  had  never  expected  such 
targets,  and  they  eagerly  seized  upon  the  opportunity. 
The  column  retired  out  of  view,  and  the  position  was 
thoroughly  shelled  before  the  advance  was  resumed  in 
extended  order.  There  was  no  reply  to  the  German  guns, 
and  their  fire  was  particularly  galling  because  of  this  fact. 

When  the  Fusiliers  had  first  taken  up  their  positions 
there  had  been  no  thought  of  retreat,  and  ammunition 
boxes  had  been  distributed  about  the  trenches.  But  as 
the  battle  developed  an  order  came  that  the  battalion 
was  to  be  ready  to  move  at  ten  minutes'  notice.  The 
ammunition  was  then  put  into  carts  with  the  result  that 
a  shortage  was  experienced,  later,  in  the  firing  line.  The 
German  artillery  very  soon  crept  round  the  whole  of  the 
canal  salient  and  Y  Company  was  taken  in  rear,  in 
enfilade  and  frontally.  Some  of  the  rifle  fire  aimed  at  this 
company  caught  Captain  Attwood's  post  at  Lock  6,  where 
Lieutenant  Harding's  platoon  lay,  and,  taking  one  of  the 
trenches  in  enfilade  and  reverse,  led  to  its  abandonment. 
Apart  from  this  and  periodic  bursts  of  shrapnel  Z  Company 
suffered  little.  They  had  early  sunk  the  boats  and  fired 
the  barges  in  case  of  retreat,  and  for  the  rest  they  could  do 
nothing  but  witness  the  plight  of  Ashburner's  company. 

In  this  section  of  the  canal  the  position  was  almost 
desperate.  The  field  of  fire  was  indifferent,  but  the  great 
volume  of  converging  German  fire  could  not  fail  to  tell. 


Lieutenant  M.   J.  Dease,   4TH  Battalion,  who  won  the  first 
V.C.   of  the  War  at  Mons,   August  23RD,   1914. 


FIRST  VICTORIA  CROSSES  39 

Ashburner  sent  to  Nimy  for  reinforcements,  and  Captain 
Carey  sent  up  Second  Lieutenant  Mead  with  a  platoon. 
He  was  shot  in  the  head  at  once,  but  went  back  whistling 
to  have  it  dressed  behind  the  trenches.  He  returned  to 
the  front  and  was  again  shot  through  the  head  and  killed. 
All  this  time  the  company  kept  up  a  destructive  fire  against 
the  German  infantry  who  lost  very  heavily.  More  rein- 
forcements were  sent  for,  and  Captain  Bowden-Smith  and 
Lieutenant  E.  C.  Smith  went  up  with  a  platoon.  The 
latter  was  killed  and  the  former  was  left  dying  on  the  retire- 
ment. Captain  Fred  Forster,  of  Ashburner's  company, 
was  also  killed.  Ashburner  himself  was  wounded  near  the 
eye,  and  Lieutenant  Steele  was  hit.  The  fight  grew  hotter 
and  more  terrible.  The  machine  gun  crews  were  constantly 
being  knocked  out.  So  cramped  was  their  position  that 
when  a  man  was  hit  he  had  to  be  removed  before  another 
could  take  his  place.  The  approach  from  the  trench  was 
across  the  open,  and  whenever  the  gun  stopped  Lieutenant 
Maurice  Dease,  the  young  machine  gun  officer,  went  up 
to  see  what  was  wrong.  To  do  this  once  called  for  no  ordi- 
nary courage.  To  repeat  it  several  times  could  only  be 
done  with  real  heroism.  Dease  was  twice  badly  wounded 
on  these  journeys,  but  insisted  on  remaining  at  duty  as 
long  as  one  of  his  crew  could  fire.  The  third  wound  proved 
fatal,  and  a  well  deserved  V.C.  was  awarded  him  post- 
humously. By  this  time  both  guns  had  ceased  firing,  and 
all  the  crew  had  been  knocked  out.  In  response  to  an  in- 
quiry whether  any  one  else  knew  how  to  operate  the  guns 
Private  Godley  came  forward.  He  cleared  the  emplace- 
ment under  heavy  fire  and  brought  the  gun  into  action. 
But  he  had  not  been  firing  long  before  the  gun  was  hit 
and  put  completely  out  of  action.  The  water  jackets  of 
both  guns  were  riddled  with  bullets,  so  that  they  were  no 
longer  of  any  use.  Godley  himself  was  badly  wounded  and 
later  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Germans.  He  was  cheered 
in  his  captivity  to  learn  that  he  also  had  been  awarded 
the  V.C*    At  1.40  p.m.  the  battalion  was  finally  ordered 

*  These  were  the  first  V.C.'s  won  and  awarded  during  the  war. 


40      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

to  retire,  and  did  so  in  perfect  order.  Ashburner's  com- 
pany had  lost  about  75  men,  and  the  Germans  were 
within  200  yards  of  their  position.  They  fell  back  slowly 
upon  Mons  and,  when  they  were  well  clear  of  their  position, 
Byng's  company  retired.  For  three-quarters  of  an  hour 
this  company  had  been  under  direct  frontal  attack  from 
the  woods  in  front ;  but  the  Germans  had  made  no  head- 
way. Now  they  had  about  a  mile  to  cover,  the  first  250 
yards  over  open  ground  with  the  German  guns  firing 
shrapnel  at  500  yards  range,  and  a  heavy  rifle  fire.  There 
were  two  railway  embankments  to  cross  ;  but  the  com- 
pany suffered  little  beyond  thrills  despite  the  heavy  fire. 
The  infantry  were  firing  high,  and  even  shrapnel  burst 
too  high  to  be  effective.  At  the  second  embankment  they 
met  X  and  Y  Company,  and  with  them  got  safely  through 
to  Mons.  The  retirement  was  covered  by  W  Company  act- 
ing rearguard  with  Major  Mallock  in  charge.  No  Germans 
crossed  by  the  bridges  which  the  Royal  Fusiliers  had 
defended,  while  the  rearguard  stood  north  of  Mons.  But 
the  enemy  had  forced  the  Obourg  bridge  on  the  eastern  side 
of  the  canal  bend,  and  from  the  higher  ground  to  the  west 
of  it  a  heavy  fire  was  opened  upon  the  last  Fusiliers  to 
retire.  The  rearguard  joined  the  rest  of  the  battalion  in 
the  Market  Square,  where  a  short  halt  was  made. 

The  4th  Battalion  had  suffered  very  heavily.  Besides 
the  officers  already  mentioned  there  were  about  150  other 
ranks'  casualties.  There  were  many  remarkable  escapes. 
Lieutenant  ("  Kingy  ")  Tower,  of  Y  Company,  had  his  hat 
shot  off,  his  rifle  hit  and  two  bullets  through  his  puttees. 
Private  Denners,  of  the  same  company,  had  three  shots 
through  his  hat,  one  on  the  end  of  his  rifle,  and  one 
through  the  sole  of  his  boot,  but  he  was  unhurt. 

The  men  had  exacted  a  very  heavy  price  for  these 
losses,  and  it  is  now  known  that  this  factor  had  a  material 
iufluence  on  the  later  German  tactics.*  On  the  immediate 
course  of  the  battle  its  influence  was  of  decisive  import- 
ance.    Though  the  canal  bend  was  abandoned  at  2  p.m. 

*  "  Forty  Days  in  19 14,"  General  Maurice,  p.  83. 


THE   RETREAT,   AUGUST  24TH  41 

and  there  still  remained  several  hours  of  daylight  the 
troops  were  not  molested,  and  part  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers 
were  joined  by  the  Middlesex  Regiment  in  an  open  field  at 
the  hospital  in  Mons.*  The  IX.  German  Corps  reported 
its  outposts  after  dusk  in  touch  with  the  main  British 
position.  Von  Kluck  states  that  "  the  IX.  Corps  had 
occupied  the  southern  edge  of  Mons  f  .  .  ."  But  this 
was  apparently  an  euphemism.  General  von  Biilow,  who 
seems  to  have  been  more  alive  to  the  chances  of  the  situa- 
tion, attempted  to  compel  the  IX.  Corps  to  bestir  itself. 
His  order  issued  "  between  8  p.m.  and  10.15  p.m."  f  and 
received  at  0.7  on  the  24th  directed  that  the  corps  should 
"  advance  immediately  west  of  Maubeuge  ..."  An 
order  was  also  sent  direct  to  the  IX.  Corps  that  it  "  was 
to  be  alarmed  and  advance  at  once.  In  reply  to  this,  a 
message  was  sent  back  that  both  the  IX.  and  III.  Corps 
were  already  in  a  battle  position  facing  the  enemy  .  .  .  and 
that  the  advance  ordered  was  therefore  impracticable." 

They  had  learned  a  new  respect  for  the  British  fire,  and 
no  small  part  in  the  inculcation  of  this  lesson  was  played 
by  the  4th  Battalion. 

Retreat. — But  while  General  von  Biilow  was  receiving 
caustic  but  very  unsatisfactory  replies  from  General 
von  Kluck,  the  Royal  Fusiliers  were  on  the  move  once 
more.  At  2  a.m.,  after  about  four  hours'  sleep,  the 
battalion  left  Mons  Hospital  and  took  up  a  position  south 
of  Mons,  covering  Frameries.  An  attempt  was  made  to 
put  an  extended  line  into  a  state  of  defence.  The  battalion 
was  in  support  to  the  7th  Brigade  at  this  time  beyond  the 

*  This  much  seems  clear — Byng's  company  were  at  Mons  Hospital 
and  probably  Ashburner's.  The  other  two  companies  and  headquarters 
were  clear  of  Mons  at  3.30  p.m.,  and  at  7  p.m.  arrived  at  Ciply,  two  or 
three  miles  south  of  Mons.  The  first  point  is  substantiated  by  the 
private  diaries  of  two  officers  of  Byng's  company,  and  the  second  by 
the  battalion  diary  and  Major  Mallock's  diary. 

f  "  The  March  on  Paris,  1914,"  p.  48.  There  is  a  certain  ambiguity 
about  the  time  to  which  this  refers.  If  the  words  "  by  the  evening  " 
govern  the  rest  of  the  paragraph,  von  Kluck  is  inaccurate.  But  during 
the  night,  i.e.,  on  the  24th,  the  British  fell  back. 

X  Ibid.,  p.  51. 


42  ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

brow  of  a  hill.  On  the  crest  was  a  small  house  which 
Lieutenant  Longman's  platoon  loopholed,  and  it  was  later 
used  to  cover  the  retreat  of  the  firing  line.  The  officers 
of  the  battalion  were  receiving  verbal  instruction  as  to  the 
way  the  supports  would  have  to  go  when  the  Germans 
attacked,  opening  with  an  artillery  bombardment  to  which 
the  British  guns  replied.  Dawn  had  just  broken  when 
Byng's  company  was  sent  to  reinforce  the  left  flank  of  the 
position  which  the  Germans  were  trying  to  turn.  This 
part  of  the  line  had  not  been  entrenched  and  the  half 
company  lying  on  the  extreme  left  suffered  very  heavily. 
The  rest  of  the  line  had  fallen  back  when  Byng  retired 
with  a  loss  of  about  40  per  cent.,  covered  by  Longman's 
platoon.  About  2,000  yards  farther  back  the  battalion 
stood  in  an  entrenched  position,  and  waited  for  the  Germans 
to  appear  over  the  crest  of  the  hill.  The  British  guns  were 
bursting  over  the  reverse  slope  and  the  heavy  rifle  fire 
which  met  the  enemy  as  they  reached  the  crest  line 
caused  them  to  fall  back.  The  battalion  remained  on 
this  position  a  little  longer  and  then  retired  through 
Genly.      Byng's  section  of  this  company  alone  had  lost 

43  men. 

Then  followed  a  long  and  tiring  march  as  rearguard 
across  the  French  frontier  to  Bermeries,  which  the  batta- 
lion reached  at  10.30  p.m.  Despite  the  weariness  of  the 
men  they  marched  very  steadily,  and  on  the  following  day 
covered  about  thirty-five  miles  to  Inchy.  They  had  left 
Bermeries  at  5  a.m.  and  arrived  at  Inchy  about  6.15  p.m. 
It  began  to  pour  with  rain  as  the  battalion  reached  the 
northern  side  of  Inchy.  This  was  the  worst  day  of  the 
retreat.  The  men  were  all  deadbeat  and  suffering  badly 
from  sore  feet.  Two  of  the  companies,  X  and  Y,  were 
put  on  outpost  duty.  The  French  maps  had  been  handed 
in  on  the  22nd,  when  only  Belgian  ones  were  retained  ; 
and,  consequently,  the  men  were  compelled  to  operate  in 
an  unknown  country.  The  night,  in  a  spiteful  mood, 
sent  alternate  downpours  and  high  wind.  Not  far  to  the 
north  the  sky  was  lit  by  the  flames  of  burning  houses. 


THE  ACTION   OF  AUGUST  26th  43 

The  cavalry  could  be  heard  exchanging  shots  with  the 
enemy. 

Le  Cateau. — About  6  a.m.  the  battalion  fell  back 
through  Inchy.  The  cavalry  had  ridden  through  about 
two  hours  before.  The  battalion  had  now  reached  the 
battlefield  of  Le  Cateau.  Trenches  had  been  dug  the 
preceding  day  south  of  Inchy  by  civilian  labour,  but  as 
they  faced  the  wrong  way  the  battalion  had  to  begin 
digging  feverishly.  They  had  only  been  engaged  between 
half  and  three-quarters  of  an  hour  when  the  battle  began. 
The  Northumberland  Fusiliers  took  over  the  trenches  and 
the  Royal  Fusiliers  moved  back  into  support.  A  little 
distance  behind  the  firing  line,  and  roughly  parallel  to  it, 
was  a  sunken  lane.  The  battalion  was  moving  into  it 
when  a  sudden  burst  of  shrapnel  caught  them.  Second 
Lieutenant  Sampson  was  wounded,  one  man  was  killed, 
and  about  20  to  25  were  wounded.  A  slight  panic  resulted, 
but  the  cool  and  firm  handling  of  Mallock  brought  the  men 
speedily  under  control.  For  the  remainder  of  the  battle 
the  men  had  a  comparatively  good  time.  The  cookers 
were  in  Troisville  and  a  hot  meal  was  obtained.  About 
250  yards  in  the  rear  of  the  lane  were  two  batteries  of 
artillery  and,  as  a  result,  shells  from  both  sides  continually 
crossed  overhead,  but  without  doing  any  damage. 

The  Retreat  resumed. — About  1  p.m.  there  was  a 
short  lull,  and  then  came  a  sudden  burst  of  firing  about  half 
a  mile  to  the  right.  It  was  about  2  p.m.,  and  the  Germans 
could  be  seen  passing  through  the  British  lines.  Shortly 
after  this  the  order  was  given  to  retire.  The  Royal  Fusiliers 
had  had  a  good  rest  and  Colonel  McMahon,  whose  coolness, 
clearness  and  decision  had  meant  so  much  to  the  battalion, 
was  now  ordered  to  command  the  rearguard  to  the 
3rd  Division  with  the  4th  Battalion  ;  and  half  the  Royal 
Scots  Fusiliers  were  placed  under  his  orders.  The  roads 
leading  south  were  packed  with  the  retreating  troops  in 
considerable  confusion.  The  rearguard  formed  up  in 
front  of  the  junction  of  two  converging  roads  until  the 
confused  mass  had  streamed  past,  and  then  fell  back  in 


44      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

perfect  order  in  a  series  of  extended  lines.  The  Germans 
had  learned  a  new  caution  and  when  pursuit  would  have 
been  perhaps  decisive,  none  was  made.  The  attempt  had 
been  made  to  separate  the  two  corps  ;  but  when  it  was 
virtually  achieved  there  followed  the  inexplicable  failure 
to  exploit  the  success.  The  4th  Battalion  marched 
through  a  village  at  attention,  arms  sloped  and  fours 
dressed.  They  were  seen  about  this  time  by  General 
Hamilton,  the  Commander  of  the  3rd  Division,  who,  no 
doubt,  contrasting  the  disorderly  retreat  of  the  garrison 
of  the  firing  line,  could  not  resist  exclaiming,  "  Well  done, 
Fusiliers ! " 

The  battalion  marched  on  till  about  2  a.m.  on  the  27th, 
when  a  halt  was  made  by  the  roadside  until  3.30,  when  the 
retreat  was  resumed.  They  reached  Hargicourt  about 
10  a.m.,  and  after  an  hour's  rest  marched  on  again  as 
rearguard  to  Vermand,  where  they  arrived  at  6.30  p.m. 
With  the  exception  of  about  two  and  a  half  hours'  rest 
they  had  had  twenty-eight  hours'  continuous  marching. 
Shortly  after  midnight  they  were  on  the  move  once  more. 
Ham  was  reached  at  9.30  a.m.,  and  after  a  short  halt  the 
battalion  fell  back  once  more  to  Crissoles.  Arriving  at 
6.30  p.m.,  the  men  were  billeted  and  had  a  rest  and  hot  food. 
On  the  next  day,  Saturday,  the  battalion  moved  out 
again  as  rearguard  to  the  division.  Here  the  country  is 
well  wooded  and  the  Fusiliers  could  see  several  Uhlan 
patrols.  In  front  of  a  large  forest  they  were  even  able 
to  shoot  two  Uhlans  who  proved  over-venturesome.  At 
dusk  the  battalion  fell  back  through  the  wood  and  marched 
all  night  via  Noyons  to  Cuts,  and,  after  a  short  halt,  to 
Montois.  On  arrival  at  Montois  at  7  a.m.,  on  Sunday  the 
30th,  the  battalion  rested  and  did  not  leave  the  village 
till  twenty-four  hours  later.  Leaving  Montois  at  7  a.m. 
the  battalion  arrived  after  a  hot  march  through  woods 
at  Vauciennes,  midway  between  Villers-Cotterets  and 
Crepy  on  the  national  road  to  Paris.  They  were  billeted 
in  a  sugar  factory,  which  did  not  leave  very  comfortable 
recollections  behind  it.     The  battalion  was  once  more 


FARTHEST  SOUTH,   SEPTEMBER   5th        45 

rearguard  when  it  marched  south  at  dawn  on  September 
1st  to  Bouillancy.  Starting  at  4.30  a.m.  on  the  following 
day  they  arrived  at  Penchard,  on  the  main  road  to  Meaux, 
at  2  p.m.,  and  placed  outposts  for  the  brigade.  On 
September  3rd  the  battalion  passed  through  Meaux  to 
Le  Mans  Farm,  where  much  wholesome  food  was  obtained. 
At  1  p.m.  on  the  following  day  the  Fusiliers  were  ordered 
out  to  take  up  a  defensive  position  south  of  La  Haute 
Maison  ;  and  at  n  p.m.  the  march  was  resumed  to 
Chatres,  which  was  reached  at  7  a.m.  on  September  5th. 
It  was  the  southernmost  point  of  the  Fusiliers. 

Despite  their  ordeal  at  Mons  the  battalion  had  suffered 
comparatively  little,  and  the  fatigue  and  hardships  of  the 
long  retreat  had  not  weakened  their  spirit.  And  when  on 
Sunday  morning  the  order  came  to  advance  once  more,  it 
was  certainly  received  with  a  sigh  of  relief.  It  was  exactly 
a  fortnight  since  the  men  had  first  found  contact  with  the 
German  troops  and  they  were  anxious  to  resume  that 
inconclusive  encounter.  They  had  been  rearguard  during 
the  retreat.  Now  they  marched  as  advance  guard,  moving 
at  first  with  the  uncertainty  that  characterised  the  British 
Army's  entry  into  the  battle  of  the  Marne.  About  10  a.m. 
they  passed  the  First  Corps,  and  at  7  p.m.  reached  billets 
in  Lumigny.  The  advance  was  resumed  on  the  following 
day  at  12  noon,  on  crowded  roads,  to  La  Martroy,*  where, 
at  7  p.m.,  the  battalion  billeted.  Two  hours  before  the 
battalion  had  passed  through  Coulommiers,  where  signs 
of  the  German  occupation  were  in  evidence  though  the 
trains  were  again  running.  At  La  Martroy  the  Fusiliers 
received  their  second  reinforcements,  Second  Lieutenant 
Hughes  and  93  men. 

Leaving  La  Martroy  at  6  a.m.  on  the  8th  the  division 
first  achieved  contact  with  the  enemy  at  Orly,  where  they 

*  It  is  perhaps  useful  to  point  out  that  officers'  diaries  frequently 
differ  as  to  the  places  reached.  Thus,  on  Sunday,  August  30th,  the 
battalion  halted  at  Montois  ;  but  some  diaries  give  this  as  Vic,  about 
a  mile  north.  Similarly,  Vaumoise  is  cited  instead  of  Vauciennes,  close 
by  ;  La  Bretonniere  instead  of  La  Martroy.  The  places  given  in  this 
chapter  are  those  at  which  battalion  headquarters  rested. 


46       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

were  held  up  for  some  hours,  so  that  the  battalion  only 
reached  Les  Faucheres  at  8  p.m. 

On  the  following  day  the  Royal  Fusiliers  crossed  the 
Marne  unopposed  ;  and,  though  not  engaged  in  the  day's 
fighting,  were  on  outpost  duty  all  night  and  lay  in  the 
trenches.  On  September  ioth  the  battalion  came  into  con- 
tact with  the  enemy  at  Veuilly.  The  men  were  tired  after 
the  outposts,  and  a  cold  rain  set  in.  But  about  9  a.m.  the 
cavalry  brought  information  that  the  German  rearguard, 
about  two  miles  ahead,  was  breakfasting  ;  and  the  Royal 
Fusiliers  went  forward  at  once.  Lieutenant  Steele's 
platoon  was  first  engaged,  and  Lieutenant  Longman  was 
sent  up  as  a  reinforcement.  A  sharp  engagement  followed, 
in  which  5  men  were  killed,  29  wounded,  and  Lieutenants 
Tower,  Beazley,  Jackson  and  Longman  were  wounded,  the 
first  two  severely.  The  rearguard  was  quickly  overcome 
and,  in  conjunction  with  the  Scots  Fusiliers,  the  battalion 
captured  600  prisoners  and  the  machine  gun  which  had 
inflicted  most  of  the  wounds  on  Y  Company.  With  four 
more  officers  wounded  and  two,  Captain  Whinney  and 
Lieutenant  Barton  sick,  the  command  of  the  battalion 
was  seriously  weakened.  On  the  following  day  the 
battalion  arrived  at  Grand  Rozoy  at  1  p.m.,  and  the  day 
was  memorable  as  the  first  on  which  firing  had  not  been 
heard.  The  Germans  had  fallen  back  hurriedly.  Small 
bodies  were  encountered  in  the  woods  south  of  Brenelle  on 
the  12th  ;  but  they  were  quickly  put  to  flight  and  the 
battalion  billeted  in  Brenelle. 

The  Aisne.— On  the  13th  the  battle  of  the  Marne 
began  to  merge  into  the  battle  of  the  Aisne.  The  bridges 
had  been  blown  up,  and  when  the  battalion  reached 
Vailly  their  only  means  of  crossing  was  by  a  narrow  plank 
which  wobbled  very  suggestively  as  the  men  went  across. 
A  position  had  to  be  taken  up  to  the  left  of  Rouge  Maison 
Farm.  When  the  battalion  approached  the  spot  it  was 
pitch  dark  and  pouring  with  rain.  X  and  Z  Companies 
pushed  forward  and  took  up  an  outpost  line,  just  after 
midnight,  on  the  Rouge  Maison  Spur.     The  other  two 


THE  AISNE,   SEPTEMBER   14TH  47 

companies  occupied  a  hollow  road  in  the  rear  ;  and  all 
spent  a  very  wet  night  in  the  open.  The  importance  of 
this  bold  advance  in  the  dark  was  not  realised  at  the 
moment ;  but  it  soon  became  apparent  from  the  German 
efforts  to  dislodge  the  Fusiliers  from  their  position.  The 
morning  of  the  14th  dawned  wet  and  foggy  ;  and  it  was 
at  once  seen  that  the  depth  of  the  battalion's  advance  had 
been  too  great  for  the  extent  of  its  hold  on  the  plateau. 
One  of  Byng's  posts  was  so  close  to  the  enemy  main  line 
that  the  Germans  could  be  clearly  heard  talking.  The 
two  forward  companies  began  to  extend  their  line  towards 
the  left,  W  and  Y  being  sent  forward  to  support  them. 
As  W  advanced  to  support  X  it  was  discovered  that  there 
was  a  trench  about  300  yards  from  their  right,  and  the 
company  wheeled  to  face  it.  A  patrol  sent  forward  was 
immediately  fired  upon,  and  the  position  had  hardly  been 
disclosed  before  the  battalion  on  the  right  was  seen  to 
be  retiring.  The  Germans  immediately  profited  by  this 
mischance  to  take  the  Fusiliers'  right  flank  in  enfilade 
with  machine  guns,  and  many  casualties  were  suffered. 
Cole  and  Hobbs  fell  at  once.  The  whole  of  the  plateau 
now  came  under  rifle,  machine  gun  and  shell  fire,  with  the 
support  of  which  the  Germans  attacked.  Byng  moved 
too  far  to  the  left  and  Ashburner,  who  had  now  resumed 
command  of  Y  Company,  ceased  to  follow  and  moved  to 
support  W.  Ashburner's  company  was  ordered  to  move 
to  the  cover  of  the  steep  bank  west  of  the  road  and  remain 
in  reserve.  These  positions  were  held  till  nightfall,  when 
the  losses  of  the  day  were  seen  to  have  been  extremely 
heavy.  Captains  Byng,  Cole  and  Attwood  and  Lieutenant 
Hobbs  were  killed,  Lieutenant  Orred  wounded,  and  200 
other  ranks  were  killed  or  wounded.  The  battalion  had 
been  compelled  to  readjust  their  position  and  reconcen- 
trate  about  the  sunken  road  west  of  the  farm. 

Two  platoons  of  X  Company  occupied  Rouge  Maison 
Farm  that  night,  and  beat  off  an  attack  with  rifle  fire  and 
the  bayonet.  During  the  15th  the  battalion  clung  to  its 
positions,   retiring  from  the  farm  during  the  day,  but 


48      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

reoccupying  it  at  night  with  a  platoon  of  X  Company.  It 
was  attacked  during  the  night,  but  the  Germans  were 
beaten  off,  a  few  of  them  being  ejected  from  the  farm  at 
the  point  of  the  bayonet.  The  night  was  very  wet,  and  the 
battalion  was  in  no  enviable  position  ;  but  during  the  three 
following  days  they  were  little  disturbed  and  the  position 
was  strengthened.  German  shells  continually  shrieked 
overhead  as  the  enemy  devoted  himself  to  the  bombard- 
ment of  Vailly. 

On  the  19th  a  very  heavy  bombardment  began  about 
2.30  p.m.  The  British  artillery  was  outranged,  and  made 
no  effective  reply.  After  a  particularly  severe  shelling 
of  the  whole  battalion  front  at  short  range,  the  Germans 
attacked  about  6  p.m.  with  great  determination.  They 
were  beaten  off  with  heavy  loss,  and  one  party,  losing 
direction  in  the  darkness,  offered  its  flank  to  the  Fusiliers, 
who  were  not  slow  to  take  advantage.  Before  the  barrier 
in  front  of  one  small  part  of  X  Company  25  German 
dead  were  counted.  The  battalion  suffered  50  casualties 
during  the  day.  At  dawn  on  "  Alma  "  day  the  attack 
was  resumed,  and  a  heavy  howitzer  was  brought  to  within 
800  yards  of  the  position,  and,  taking  it  in  enfilade,  caused 
several  casualties.  Two  field  guns  had  also  been 
entrenched  within  500  yards  of  the  trenches,  and  the 
battalion's  position  in  the  salient  was  becoming  precarious 
when  the  British  artillery  began  to  give  effective  support. 
The  howitzer  had  to  be  withdrawn.  The  attack  was 
beaten  off,  and  although  Second  Lieutenant  Hughes  and 
about  20  other  ranks  were  killed  and  wounded,  the 
Germans  suffered  more  heavily.  At  5  p.m.  the  Lincoln- 
shires  relieved  the  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  went  back  to  Vailly 
after  having  been  in  the  trenches  for  seven  days  and 
eight  nights.  Their  total  casualties  were  5  officers  and 
300  men  ;  but  their  work  again  had  been  of  a  very  high 
quality,  and  they  were  the  recipients  of  warm  praise  from 
the  brigade  and  divisional  commanders.* 

*  "  The  commanding  officer  received  last  night  from  General 
Hamilton,  commanding  3rd  Division,  and  from  General  Shaw,  com- 


ARRIVAL   OF  THE  FIRST  BATTALION     49 

In  the  early  hours  of  the  morning  of  the  21st  the 
battalion,  relieved  in  Vailly,  moved  to  Courcelles.  During 
the  afternoon  Sir  John  French  visited  them  in  billets,  and 
complimented  them.*  On  the  following  day  Sir  Horace 
Smith-Dorrien  came  to  Courcelles  to  add  his  own  appre- 
ciation of  the  Fusiliers'  work.  During  this  rest  two  drafts 
arrived,  and  the  battalion  was  brought  approximately 
up  to  strength,  and  at  9  p.m.  relieved  the  Royal  Irish 
in  trenches  on  the  south-west  side  of  the  Rouge  Maison 
Spur.  This  tour  of  the  trenches  was  uneventful,  and  on 
the  evening  of  October  2nd  the  battalion  was  relieved, 
marched  south  through  Braisnes,  and  billeted  north  of 
Servenay  after  a  trek  of  sixteen  miles. 

5jS  *JC  5(5  *p 

Meanwhile  the  1st  Battalion  under  Lieut.-Colonel 
R.  Fowler-Butler  had  reached  the  Aisne  and  made  their 
debut  in  the  war.  They  were  in  Ireland  on  August  4th, 
but  by  mid- August  had  arrived  at  Cambridge,  and  reached 
St.  Nazaire  during  the  advance  to  the  Aisne.  They  left 
Courcelles  two  days  before  the  4th  Battalion  went  into 
billets  there,  on  relief  after  their  tenure  of  the  Rouge 
Maison  salient.  On  the  21st,  as  the  latter  battalion  were 
coming  out  of  the  line  for  a  rest,  they  marched  from 
Dhuizel  to  trenches  north  of  Soupir,  via  Vieil  Arcy,  St. 
Mard,   Cys   and   Chavonne.      The   brigade    (17th)   front 

manding  gth  Brigade,  emphatic  expressions  of  their  appreciation  of  the 
splendid  service  rendered  by  the  battalion  during  the  eight  days'  close 
fighting  just  concluded.  From  the  warm  terms  of  praise  used  by  the 
divisional  and  brigade  commanders  the  CO.  thinks  it  may  be  assumed 
that  the  battalion  has  earned  some  measure  of  distinction  in  these 
operations,  and  feels  that  this  recognition  of  something  achieved  for 
the  country  at  heavy  cost  to  the  regiment,  coming,  as  it  does,  after 
several  acknowledgments  of  good  work  at  Mons,  of  good  marching  and 
of  all-round  efficiency,  will  increase  the  feeling  of  pride  which  all  have 
in  their  regiment,  and  encourage  all  ranks  to  earn  further  distinction 
in  the  future.  From  his  own  personal  observation,  the  CO.  has  been 
extremely  gratified  by  the  fine  bearing  and  soldierly  endurance  of  the 
battalion  during  the  campaign.  Every  effort  must  be  made  to  main- 
tain, and  even  to  improve  upon,  this  high  standard. — (Signed)  N.  R. 
McMahon,  Lieut.-Colonel." 

*  "  No  troops  in  the  world  could  have  done  better  than  you  have. 
England  is  proud  of  you,  and  I  am  proud  of  you." 

F.  E 


50       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

stretched  between  the  canal  at  Fort  de  Metz  and  the  road 
at  La  Cour  de  Soupir.  At  the  latter  place  lay  the 
Leinsters,  with  the  Royal  Fusiliers  on  their  right.  Their 
first  tour  of  the  trenches  was  comparatively  uneventful. 
On  the  part  of  the  line  where  they  lay  the  periodical 
rumour  that  the  Germans  were  abandoning  their  positions 
resulted  in  the  only  casualties  suffered  in  the  first 
acquaintance  with  the  enemy.  Where  the  4th  Battalion 
had  stood  it  was  quite  evident  that  the  Germans  were 
still  in  possession ;  and,  indeed,  even  on  the  Soupir 
section  the  1st  Battalion  were  sufficiently  certified  of 
the  enemy's  tenure  of  the  trenches  300  yards  distant  by 
observation  from  the  branches  of  a  tree.  But  some  of 
the  higher  powers  proved  sceptical,  and  patrols  were 
ordered  out.  On  the  night  of  the  22nd  Captain  Howlett 
was  wounded,  and  2  other  ranks  were  killed,  13  wounded, 
and  3  missing  after  one  of  these  feelers.  A  daylight 
patrol  on  the  27th  resulted  in  17  O.R.  being  killed  and 
12  wounded.  Apart  from  these  two  unfortunately 
successful  attempts  to  test  the  strength  of  the  German 
trench  garrison,  the  first  tour  of  the  trenches  was  unevent- 
ful. They  were  relieved  on  October  1st,  and  were  billeted 
in  Dhuizel.  On  the  4th  they  relieved  General  de  Lisle's 
cavalry  brigade  as  corps  troops  at  Chassemy,  a  lively  spot 
near  the  Conde  bridge,  held  by  the  Germans.  The  bridge 
consisted  of  only  a  few  planks  across  the  broken  section  ; 
but  the  enemy  had  also  two  or  three  boats  on  the  river, 
and  the  approach  to  the  battalion's  position  became 
possible  only  after  dark.  On  the  evening  of  the  6th  the 
battalion  marched  south  to  follow  the  4th  Battalion  in 
the  gradual  movement  of  the  British  Army  to  the  northern 
flank. 


CHAPTER   III 

FLANDERS — LA   BASSEE,    ARMENTIERES,    YPRES 

By  the  end  of  the  second  week  in  October  the  ist  and 
4th  Battalions  were  both  in  Flanders,  moving  among 
places  which  saw  more  of  the  British  troops  during  the 
war  than  any  others.  But  the  condition  of  the  two  bat- 
talions was  very  different.  The  ist  Battalion  was  one  over 
strength  in  officers  on  the  Aisne ;  the  4th  required  a  draft  of 
11  officers  to  bring  it  within  sight  of  full  strength.  Junior 
officers  who  had  attained  exalted  rank  returned  to  their 
platoons,  and  the  battalion  marched,  with  little  interval, 
into  the  thick  of  a  hot  battle.  The  atmosphere  of  the 
struggle  had  changed,  and  the  troops  got  their  first 
experience  of  village  fighting. 

On  October  12th  the  4th  Battalion  moved  towards 
Vieille  Chapelle  along  roads  almost  blocked  by  French 
cavalry.  They  were  in  divisional  reserve,  and  remained 
so  until  the  15th,  when  they  moved  forward  towards  the 
Estaires-Neuve  Chapelle  road.  The  battalion  attacked 
through  Pont  du  Hem,  W  and  X  Companies  being  in  the 
front  line  ;  and  easily  brushed  aside  the  cavalry  screen  in 
front  of  them.  The  advance  was  resumed  on  the  following 
day  to  the  Rue  d'Enfer,  where  the  enemy  were  found 
holding  houses,  and  at  dusk  a  halt  was  made  on  a  line 
extending  from  Trivolet  (W,  Captain  Swifte),  along  Rue 
d'Enfer,  to  Moulin  du  Pietre  (X,  Carey).  There  had 
been  little  resistance,  and  the  few  casualties  suffered  were 
due  to  snipers. 

Herlies. — Aubers  had  been  evacuated  during  the 
night,  and  the  battalion  entered  it  unopposed  on  the 
morning  of  the  17th  ;    but  there  some  German  cavalry 

E    2 


52       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

were  encountered  advancing  from  Fromelles.  The  bat- 
talion was  on  the  left  of  the  division,  with  its  flank 
supposed  to  be  covered  by  French  cavalry.  The  advance 
of  the  German  cavalry  delayed  the  march  upon  Herlies, 
which  was  found  to  be  held  in  some  strength.  Captain 
Swift,  with  W  Company,  marched  direct  upon  it  by  the 
Aubers-Herlies  road,  while  Colonel  McMahon  took  the 
other  three  companies  through  Le  Plouich  and  Le  Riez. 
The  Lincolns,  on  the  right  of  the  Fusiliers,  moved  due 
eastwards  ;  and  under  this  converging  attack  the  Germans 
were  forced  out  of  the  village.  At  about  6.30  p.m. 
Colonel  McMahon  entered  from  the  north  as  Swift,  with 
the  Lincolns,  was  pushing  the  enemy  out  at  the  point  of 
the  bayonet.  W  Company  lost  Lieutenant  Hodges, 
killed,  and  about  10  other  casualties.  An  outpost  line 
was  taken  up  from  Le  Petit  Riez  to  the  southern  outskirts 
of  Herlies.  The  houses  were  searched,  and  a  few  Germans 
were  discovered. 

The  division  had  now  reached  an  uneasy  equilibrium 
with  the  German  forces  on  their  front,  and  no  further 
advance  was  possible.  The  18th  was  spent  in  strengthen- 
ing the  positions,  all  of  which  came  under  a  heavy  bom- 
bardment from  field  and  heavy  guns.  About  5  p.m.  the 
battalions  on  the  right  and  left  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers,  the 
Scots  Fusiliers  and  the  Royal  Irish,  attacked  after  a 
preliminary  bombardment.  The  Germans  at  once  replied. 
Captain  Waller,  Lieutenants  Cooper,  Gorst  and  Longman, 
all  of  Z  Company,  were  at  this  time  having  tea  in  a  farm 
at  Petit  Riez,  near  their  trenches.  The  three  first  ran  out 
to  see  what  was  happening.  Longman  stayed  behind ;  and 
a  shell  fell  upon  the  farm,  burst  in  the  room  and  killed 
him  as  he  sat  at  table,  a  tragic  end  to  a  life  of  much 
promise. 

During  the  morning  of  the  following  day  the  8th  Brigade 
took  over  Le  Grand  Riez,  thus  enabling  the  battalion  to 
contract  their  front.  The  Fusiliers  supported  by  their 
fire  an  attack  on  Le  Pilly  made  in  the  afternoon  by  the 
18th  Royal  Irish.     The  latter  reached  the  station  with 


HERLIES,   SEPTEMBER,   1914  53 

heavy  loss,  but  were  counter-attacked  after  an  intense 
bombardment  and  suffered  more  casualties.  During  the 
night  Lieutenant  Moxon's  platoon  was  sent  to  the  support 
of  the  Royal  Irish  in  Le  Pilly — it  was  all  the  help  that 
could  be  given — and  the  Northumberland  Fusiliers  took 
over  the  position  south  of  Herlies.  The  4th  Middlesex 
also  relieved  Z  Company  in  Le  Petit  Riez.  The  Royal 
Fusiliers  now  held  the  west  side  of  Herlies  from  the  Le 
Pilly  road.  About  7  a.m.  on  the  20th  a  violent  bombard- 
ment of  Herlies  with  heavy  guns  began,  and  the  town  was 
speedily  reduced  to  ruins.  The  only  building  left  intact 
was  the  convent  behind  the  church.  The  German  infantry 
followed  this  up  by  repeated  attempts  to  penetrate  the 
village,  which  now  lay  at  the  angle  of  a  narrow  salient. 
About  9  a.m.  the  Northumberland  Fusiliers  reported 
determined  attempts  to  outflank  them  on  the  southern 
boundaries  of  Herlies,  and  Captain  Carey  was  sent  up 
with  a  company  to  attempt  to  relieve  the  pressure  by 
initiating  an  outflanking  movement  towards  Moxon's 
position.  They  had  to  advance  over  the  open,  which  was 
now  covered  by  shell  fire,  and  they  lost  very  heavily.  Carey 
was  severely  wounded  by  a  shell  splinter.  Moxon  had 
sustained  a  serious  wound  in  the  head.  But  a  platoon 
reached  his  position.  Ashburner  was  wounded  by  a  shell 
splinter  in  Herlies. 

About  1  p.m.  Z  Company  was  sent  back  to  prepare  a 
second  position.  The  struggle  grew  more  bitter,  and  about 
4  p.m.  half  a  battalion  of  Royal  Scots  was  sent  to  Colonel 
McMahon  to  reinforce  Herlies.  During  the  night  the 
Northumberland  Fusiliers  were  relieved  by  the  Scots 
Fusiliers.  W  and  Y  Companies  still  held  their  positions 
on  the  west  of  Herlies,  but  the  French  had  evacuated 
Fromelles  ;  and  in  the  afternoon  the  battalion  was  ordered 
to  abandon  Herlies.  During  the  night  the  retirement  was 
carried  out  to  a  position  between  Haut  Pommereau  and 
Le  Plouich.  The  movement  was  unnoticed  by  the  enemy, 
who  continued  to  shell  Herlies  long  after  the  battalion 
had  left.    The  fighting  in  and  about  this  village  resulted 


54      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

in  5  officers  and  150  other  ranks  being  killed  and  wounded. 
The  22nd  was  spent  in  organising  the  new  position,  when 
orders  were  received  to  retire  some  four  miles  further 
back.  No  transport  was  available  for  much  of  the  ammu- 
nition and  rations,  and  they  had  to  be  abandoned.  After  a 
night  march  the  battalion  reached  Pont  du  Hem  at  4  a.m. 
on  the  23rd  and  went  into  divisional  reserve.  They  had 
been  farther  east  than  any  British  troops  were  destined 
to  be  for  nearly  four  years  ;  but  the  enemy  was  too  strong 
for  the  position  to  be  maintained. 

Armentieres. — Meanwhile  the  1st  Battalion  had 
become  involved  in  the  battle  of  Armentieres,  which 
embodied  that  series  of  encounters  that  took  place  on  the 
left  flank  of  the  battle  of  La  Bassee.  They  started  to  rejoin 
the  brigade  at  Merris  on  the  14th  and  had  to  march  single 
file  because  of  the  congestion  on  the  road.  The  conditions 
of  this  march  are  sufficiently  indicated  by  the  fact  that 
part  of  the  platoon  under  Goodliffe  had  to  be  detached  to 
rescue  the  car  of  General  Keir  (O.C.  VI.  Division),  which 
had  run  into  snipers  holding  a  farm  about  500  yards  off 
the  road.  The  car  was  restored  with  little  trouble,  though 
it  was  nervous  work  in  the  dark  ;  and  the  battalion  were 
settling  down  into  bivouacs  when  another  platoon  was 
ordered  to  capture  a  gun  which  had  flung  two  shells  into 
the  middle  of  the  square  formation.  It  was  thought  to  be 
300  yards  distant,  but  was  eventually  estimated  to  be 
about  1,000  yards  farther  off.  On  the  next  day  they 
moved  to  Bac  St.  Maur.  They  were  compelled  to  wait 
several  hours  in  the  road,  and  the  men  were  constantly 
found  swaying  with  sleep  as  they  stood.  Several  horses 
even  fell  down  in  the  road  asleep.  The  battalion  was  near 
the  limit  of  its  endurance.  If  the  crossing  had  been 
defended  in  force  it  is  difficult  to  imagine  what  would 
have  happened  ;  and  the  delay  was  due  to  the  fact  that 
on  the  first  approach  a  number  of  shots  had  been  fired 
across  the  river.  At  length  some  of  the  R.E.  got  across, 
swung  back  the  central  section,  and  the  battalion  crossed 
by  the  bridge. 


L'EPINETTE,   SEPTEMBER,   1914  55 

They  billeted  at  La  Chapelle  d'Armentieres  on  the 
following  day,  and  on  the  18th  marched  in  support  of  the 
Rifle  Brigade  to  test  the  strength  of  the  enemy  at  Paren- 
chies  and  Premesques,  preparatory  to  the  movement  of 
the  III.  Corps  up  the  Lys.  At  2  p.m.  the  battalion  went 
up  on  the  left  flank  of  the  Rifle  Brigade,  who  were  held  up 
at  the  Halt  before  Parenchies.  The  Fusiliers  advanced  on 
L'Epinette,  where  a  hot  fire  was  encountered.  It  was 
there  that  an  attempt  was  made  to  rescue  the  people  from 
a  burning  farm;  but  when  an  entry  was  at  last  forced 
through  a  window  no  one  could  be  found.  The  Germans 
were  pressed  back  slightly,  but  Captain  Palairet  and 
Lieutenant  Cooper  were  wounded  and  4  other  ranks 
were  killed,  27  wounded,  and  4  missing.  It  was  difficult 
to  move  without  coming  under  fire,  and  the  wonder  is 
that  more  casualties  were  not  sustained.  The  battalion 
settled  at  night  in  a  deep  dyke. 

Two  minor  attacks,  chiefly  on  the  Rifle  Brigade,  took 
place  during  the  night,  and  at  9  a.m.  (20th)  a  rush  was 
made  for  a  gap  between  that  regiment  and  the  Fusiliers. 
During  the  rest  of  the  day  the  positions  were  subjected  to 
bombardment  and  sniping  ;  and  Lieutenant  Scholefield 
was  wounded  while  crawling  to  obtain  touch  with  the  Rifle 
Brigade.  The  battalion  were  ordered  to  retire  their 
positions  slightly  during  the  night,  and  the  move  was 
successfully  carried  out  without  molestation  by  the  light 
of  burning  houses.  Another  feeble  attack  took  place 
on  the  21st  after  a  desultory  bombardment,  and  though 
this  was  easily  beaten  off,  two  officers,  Fisher  and  Gals- 
worthy, were  wounded.  The  battalion  were  relieved  on 
the  23rd  after  a  short  but  costly  German  attack.  The 
machine  guns  caught  the  Germans  at  a  range  of  some  500 
yards  in  the  open.  On  relief  the  Fusiliers  marched  back 
to  Armentieres,  having  to  take  cover  from  a  heavy  out- 
burst of  firing  on  the  way,  and  thence  south  to  the  Rue 
Petillon,  which  lies  about  two  and  a  half  miles  north-east 
of  Fromelles,  from  which  place  the  French  had  retired 
three  days  before,  as  we  have  seen.    In  this  position  they 


56       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

were  on  the  zone  connecting  the  battlefields  of  Armentieres 
and  La  Bassee. 

*  *  *  * 

The  4th  Battalion  had  not  long  to  rest.  On  the  24th 
they  received  an  urgent  order  to  fall  in  and  to  retake  some 
trenches  which  had  been  lost  by  a  battalion  of  the  8th 
Brigade.  There  was  no  staff  officer  to  show  which  were 
the  trenches,  and  Colonel  McMahon  was  informed  that  the 
Germans  were  in  a  wood.  A  company  was  just  forming 
up  to  take  the  wood  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet  when  an 
officer  of  the  Royal  Scots  came  up  and  said  that  his  regi- 
ment had  reoccupied  the  trenches  and  that  no  Germans 
were  found.     Nerves  seemed  to  wear  thin  in  these  days. 

The  battalion  returned  to  billets  only  to  be  summoned 
out    once    more — noon,    October    25th — to    retake    lost 
trenches.     The  battalion  moved  to  the  Rue  du  Bacquerot, 
and  Y   Company  was  ordered  to  move  thence  to  the 
Fleurbaix-Neuve  Chapelle  road.     The  remainder  of  the 
battalion  moved  south  to  Pont  Logy,  about  1,000  yards 
due  west  of  Neuve  Chapelle.     Two  companies  attacked 
from  this  point  in  a  north-easterly  direction,  thus  pre- 
senting a  flank  to  Neuve  Chapelle.     Y  Company,  on  the 
north,  advanced  across  the  open  under  a  heavy  shrapnel 
fire.     The  two  companies  at  Pont  Logy  also  came  under 
heavy    fire,    but    suffered    few    casualties    until    they 
approached  the  outskirts  of  Neuve  Chapelle,  the  northern 
houses  of  which  the  Germans  had  occupied.     There  was 
no  artillery  support,  and  Sir  Francis  Waller  was  mortally 
wounded  in  leading  his  company  (Z)  in  a  gallant  charge 
against  the  enemy  positions.     After  a  severe  struggle,  in 
which  many  losses  were  sustained,  the  lost  trenches  were 
reoccupied.     Neuve  Chapelle  was  cleared,  and  two  field 
guns,    which    had    been    abandoned,    were    recaptured. 
Colonel  McMahon  was  ordered  to  leave  two  companies 
and  to  return  the  other  two  to  billets.     Y  Company  was 
left  in  the  firing  line,  with  two  platoons  of  Z  in  close 
support  and  two  platoons  in  reserve.     Major  Mallock  was 
left  in  charge  of  these  companies. 


NEUVE  CHAPELLE,   OCTOBER,   1914         57 

On  the  following  day  the  Germans  attacked ;  and  at 
about  2  p.m.  the  two  companies  were  brought  up  from 
billets  to  support.  Some  of  the  trenches  recaptured 
by  the  battalion  had  been  taken  in  an  overwhelming 
onslaught  in  which  the  Germans  pressed  up  to  the 
parapets  ;  and  a  determined  attempt  was  made  during 
the  night  to  recapture  them.  This  engagement  was 
one  of  the  fiercest  in  which  the  battalion  had  taken 
part,  and  the  attack  was  not  only  unsuccessful,  but 
resulted  in  many  casualties,  including  8  officers.  Sergeant 
Osborne,  who  was  sent  back  by  Gorst,  had  the  utmost 
difficulty  in  getting  away.  The  Germans  were  then  at 
the  trench  parapets,  and  the  Fusiliers  fought  there  till  they 
fell.  On  the  27th  another  attempt  was  made  to  recapture 
the  lost  positions,  in  conjunction  with  the  remains  of 
six  battalions.  Two  companies  of  Chausseurs  Alpins 
co-operated  with  the  Fusiliers,  and,  after  very  severe 
hand-to-hand  fighting,  the  trenches  were  almost  recovered, 
when  the  weight  of  the  battalion  was  too  light  to  retain  the 
positions.  They  were  compelled  to  fall  back  to  a  new 
line.  Two  officers  were  among  the  heavy  casualties  of 
this  day,  and  the  battalion  was  reduced  to  some  8  officers 
and  350  other  ranks.  Major  Mallock,  who  was  seriously 
wounded  in  this  attack;  was  a  heavy  loss.  Second  in 
command,  he  had  been  to  the  fore  in  every  action  from 
Mons  to  this  moment. 

The  battalion  were  relieved  on  the  night  of  the  29th  and 
marched  to  Merris  via  Vieille  Chapelle  and  Doulieu. 
Several  drafts  were  received,  and  on  November  4th  the 
battalion  was  inspected  at  Bailleul  by  Sir  Horace  Smith- 
Dorrien  and  warmly  complimented.  The  terms  of  this 
speech  deserve  record.  As  remembered  by  Captain 
R.  H.  C.  Routley,  they  were  as  follows  : — 

"  I  asked  Colonel  McMahon  to  bring  you  into  this  small 
yard  because  I  wanted  to  express  to  you  my  admiration 
for  the  work  that  your  regiment,  under  his  leadership,  has 
been  doing. 

"  I  have  asked  you  to  come  in  here  because  one  can 


58      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

hear  better,  and  I  shall  be  very  glad  if  you  will  let  it  be 
known  to  the  men  later  on. 

'  I  simply  cannot  find  words  enough  to  express  my 
admiration  for  the  way  in  which  your  regiment  has 
behaved.  All  through  the  campaign  up  to  now  they  have 
had  the  hardest  work  of  any  regiment  in  the  brigade,  and 
any  work  they  have  had  to  do  they  have  carried  out 
exceedingly  well.  In  fact,  I  can  safely  say  that  there  is 
no  better  regiment  in  the  British  Army  than  the  Royal 
Fusiliers. 

"  I  may  add  that  I  am  the  officer  who  writes  the  King's 
diary  every  day,  and  the  work  of  your  regiment  has  been 
specially  mentioned  in  it  ;  and  I  can  tell  you  that,  when 
this  war  is  over,  you  will  have  special  mention  made  when 
you  get  home. 

"  Now  I  must  say  a  few  words  about  your  colonel,  who 
stands  here  with  us.  Of  course  you  know  quite  well  that 
he  has  recently  been  promoted  to  a  brigade,  but  the  work 
he  has  done  with  the  regiment  has  been  so  valuable,  and 
so  well  done,  that  we  cannot  spare  him  to  take  up  the 
position  he  ought  to  be  now  occupying,  and,  therefore, 
I  am  here  to  tell  you — and  I'm  afraid  it  will  be  a  great 
disappointment  to  you — that,  instead  of  the  seven  or 
eight  days'  rest  you  were  looking  forward  to  at  Bailleul, 
I  am  very  much  afraid  that  in  another  twenty-four  or 
forty-eight  hours  you  will  find  yourselves  back  in  the 
trenches  again. 

"  You  will  remember  a  short  time  back  General  French 
came  up  and  especially  and  personally  thanked  Colonel 
McMahon  and  your  regiment  for  the  work  done,  and  it 
was  the  only  regiment  he  thanked  on  that  day  in  the 
whole  division. 

"  So,  when  you  get  back,  I  will  ask  you  to  thank  the 
men  from  me  for  all  they  have  done." 

Ypres. — General  Smith-Dorrien's  warning  was  soon 
fulfilled.  On  the  night  of  November  6th  the  battalion 
took  over  the  positions  from  the  6th  Cavalry  Brigade, 
east  of  Hooge,  on  the  south  side  of  the  Ypres-Menin  road. 
They  had  some  difficulty  in  reaching  their  positions  as  the 
roads  about  Ypres  were  blocked  with  the  traffic.     But 


THE  BATTLE   OF   YPRES  59 

they  settled  down  on  the  edge  of  Herenthage  Wood  with 
Zouaves  on  their  left  and  the  Northumberland  Fusiliers 
on  their  right.  Almost  at  once  the  battalion,  now  so 
weak,  became  merged  in  the  great  crisis  of  Ypres. 
On  November  7th  the  Zouaves  were  blown  out  of  their 
trenches.  On  the  following  day  the  shelling  continued  all 
day,  and  several  minor  attacks  were  beaten  off.  The  most 
serious  blow  fell  upon  Y  Company,  but  was  dealt  with 
summarily.  But  the  Zouaves  were  forced  back,  and  the 
Germans  got  into  the  wood,  round  the  Fusiliers'  open  flank. 
Stapleton  Bretherton  and  Jackson,  with  half  of  Y  Company, 
delivered  a  violent  counter-attack  and  penetrated  to  the 
German  trenches.  Very  few  of  these  gallant  fellows  came 
back.  The  two  officers  and  62  men  were  seen  no  more. 
But,  thanks  to  this  charge  and  the  advance  of  the  West 
Ridings,  the  line  was  restored. 

On  the  nth  came  the  last  attempt  of  the  Germans  to 
cut  through  to  the  coast.  The  attack  was  expected  ;  the 
battalion  order  issued  before  it  took  place  is  notable. 
The  order,  which  was  to  be  read  to  companies,  ran  as 
follows  : — 

"  It  may  be  assumed  that  we  are  about  to  fight  the 
decisive  battle  of  the  war.  The  German  Emperor  has 
arrived  to  command  his  troops  in  person,  and  Sir  John 
French  hopes  that  the  British  Army  will  prove  to  him  that 
they  are  better  men  than  the  Germans.  Both  armies  are 
composed  of  regiments  more  or  less  exhausted,  and  short 
of  officers,  and  the  result  will  depend  very  much  on  the 
prolonged  energy  of  every  soldier  in  the  fight  and  the 
endurance  shown  during  the  next  few  days.  Fire  must  be 
carefully  controlled  at  night,  men  must  assist  to  the  last, 
be  ready  to  cover  every  movement  with  fire,  well  aimed 
and  well  sustained,  and  there  must  be  no  straggling  or 
straying  from  the  platoons  to  which  men  belong.  The 
CO.  hopes  that  every  man  will  sustain  the  great  reputa- 
tion that  the  Royal  Fusiliers  have  already  made  during 

this  war. 

(Signed)     "  G.  O'Donel, 

"  Captain  and  Adjutant." 


60       ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

The  morning  dawned  dull  and  misty,  and  about  6.30 
a  terrible  shelling  began,  "  much  the  most  severe  I 
(O'Donel)  have  ever  seen."  It  continued  for  two  and  a 
half  hours.  The  front  trenches  were  knocked  to  pieces, 
and  many  of  the  men  were  killed  or  buried.  Routley,  in 
command,  tried  to  send  back  a  report  of  the  plight  of  his 
men,  but  it  was  impossible  to  live  in  such  a  bombardment. 
Then  followed  the  infantry  attack  by  the  twelve  battalions 
of  the  Guard  Division.  The  4th  (Queen  Augusta's)  Guard 
Grenadiers  seem  to  have  struck  the  Royal  Fusiliers,  and 
the  little  band  of  men  received  the  first  assault  with  the 
bayonet  and  hurled  it  back.  Routley,  about  this  time, 
was  the  only  officer  left,  and  he  was  wounded  in  the  head. 
The  Grenadiers  delivered  a  second  charge.  Some  of  the 
men  were  driven  from  their  trenches,  and  their  appearance 
in  the  rear  created  a  panic  among  the  battalion  supports, 
who  appear  to  have  been  chiefly  special  reservists,  a  draft 
who  arrived  on  the  day  before  the  battle  and  had  not  yet 
been  organised  into  their  platoons.  Colonel  McMahon 
went  to  them  and  tried  to  rally  them.  Suddenly  he  was 
seen  to  sink  on  one  knee  and  begin  to  remove  his  legging 
as  though  hit  in  the  leg.  At  that  moment  a  shell  burst 
close  to  him  and  killed  him.  He  was  a  most  gallant  and 
distinguished  officer,  who  impressed  all  who  came  into 
contact  with  him.  "  A  Royal  Fusilier,"  he  said  to  the 
battalion  on  the  eve  of  embarkation,  "  does  not  fear 
death.  He  is  not  afraid  of  wounds.  He  only  fears 
disgrace  ;  and  I  look  to  you  not  to  disgrace  the  name  of 
the  regiment."  Not  merely  the  battalion  and  the  regi- 
ment, but  the  army  as  a  whole,  lost  by  his  death. 

Part  of  the  West  Ridings  had  also  been  driven  from 
their  trenches,  but  a  determined  counter-attack  on  both 
sides  of  the  Ypres-Menin  road  by  the  Sussex  and  Scots 
Fusiliers  drove  the  German  Guard  back  with  heavy  loss 
and  partly  restored  the  line.  At  1  p.m.  the  remainder  of 
the  Royal  Fusiliers  were  very  much  disorganised  and 
scattered.  In  the  evening  only  O'Donel  and  Second 
Lieutenant  Maclean,  with  50  men,  could  be  collected.    The 


YPRES,   NOVEMBER,    1914  61 

night  was  very  wet,  and  the  fighting  died  down  but  little. 
On  the  following  day  about  100  men  were  collected  and 
withdrawn,  but  they  were  back  again  in  the  firing  line 
during  the  evening  in  support  of  the  Scots  Fusiliers  and 
Lincolns.  On  the  13th  they  were  still  in  support  with 
the  two  officers  and  170  men.  Next  day  under  German 
pressure  they  were  compelled  to  retire  slightly.  On  the 
15th,  wet  and  tired  out,  they  were  still  holding  on  in  the 
rain  and  snow.  But  on  the  following  day  (November  16th) 
they  went  into  divisional  reserve  at  Hooge.  The  attack 
by  the  Imperial  Guard  had  petered  out  without  achieving 
its  objective. 

On  the  20th  they  relieved  the  King's  Own  Scottish 

Borderers,  south  of  Hooge,  in  heavy  snow ;    but  on  the 

following  night  they  handed  over  to  the  French,  marched 

to  Westoutre  through  Ypres,  and  billeted.     It  was  now 

freezing  hard,  and  the  men's  feet  were  beginning  to  suffer. 

At  night  on  the  21st  Major  Hely  Hutchinson  arrived  to 

take    over    command,    with    Captains    Lee,    Pipon    and 

Magnay  from  the  1st  Battalion.     A  draft  of  300  special 

reservists  arrived,  and  companies  were  reorganised  and 

given  some  training.     But  on  the  27th  the  battalion  had 

to  take  over  the  trenches  at  Kemmel  from  the  Norfolks. 

It  was  the  last  test  to  apply  to  men  so  little  accustomed  to 

warfare  ;   but  the  days  were  critical,  and  such  risks  had 

to  be  taken.     Major  Hely  Hutchinson  had  to  deal  with 

some  serious  cases  of  nerves,  but  under  his  firm  hand  the 

unit  settled  down,  and  spent  three  days  in  the  trenches. 

On  the  night  of  the  30th  they  were  relieved  by  the  Gordons, 

and  marched  to  Westoutre  to  billets.     The  trenches  had 

been  wet,  and  many  of  the  men  had  bad  feet.     Moreover, 

the  shortage  of  N.C.O.'s  made  discipline  a  little   slack. 

One  can  hardly  wonder  at  this.     The  battalion  had  been 

wiped  out  twice  since  the  opening  of  the  war.     In  these 

four  months  they  had  lost  1.900  N.C.O.'s  and  men  and 

over    50    officers,    killed,    wounded,    sick,    and    missing. 

These  figures  must  surely  be  unique  !     At  any  rate,  there 

were  not  sufficient  troops  available  in  these  early  months 


62       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

to  allow  more  than  a  few  units  to  renew  themselves  three 

times. 

*  *  *  * 

The  march  southwards  of  the  ist  Battalion  on  October 
23rd  had  taken  them  once  more  to  within  a  short  distance 
of  the  4th,  who  at  that  time  were  withdrawing  from  the 
advanced  positions  in  the  Aubers  area.  The  ist  only 
arrived  about  Fleurbaix  at  6  a.m.  on  the  23rd,  very  tired 
and  sleepy,  and  on  reaching  Rue  Petillon  they  were 
accommodated,  some  in  houses  and  some  in  ditches. 
Their  orders  were  to  support  the  right  of  the  Welsh 
Fusiliers  ;  but  some  Indian  troops  had  arrived  there 
first.  The  Sikhs  lost  their  two  British  officers  on  the 
25th,  and  the  Fusiliers  found  them  "  jumpy  "  neighbours. 
A  good  deal  of  firing  went  on,  especially  during  the  night, 
and  the  ist  Battalion,  after  being  compelled  to  stand  to 
night  after  night,  at  length  took  over  the  bulk  of  their 
trenches.  There  were  heavy  losses  from  the  German 
bombardment.  But  the  rhythm  of  the  struggle  had 
changed  to  that  of  trench  warfare.  On  November  5th 
there  were  20  casualties  from  the  persistent  shelling. 
Snipers,  too,  became  obtrusive.  On  the  9th  a  German  shell 
secured  a  direct  hit  on  a  trench.  A  gunner  observer  was 
killed  and  three  men  were  wounded.  Sergeant  Tuersley 
was  wounded  in  assisting  Corporal  Taimer,  who  had  been 
hit,  but  continued  to  help  him  though  the  trench  was 
still  under  fire.  Three  days  later,  at  about  3.30  a.m.,  a 
dug-out  in  which  Captain  H.  J.  Shaw  was  sleeping  was 
knocked  in,  and  when  the  earth  was  removed  he  was 
dead. 

The  trenches  now  became  ankle  and  even  knee-deep 
in  mud.  The  Germans  were  only  about  150  yards  away, 
and  they  won  the  approval  of  the  Fusiliers  by  a  rough 
attempt  at  sportsmanlike  behaviour.  Frequently  they 
would  call  out,  "  Hullo,  Cock  Robin  !  "  and  at  night, 
"  Look  out,  you  English  swine — we're  coming  !  '  Then  a 
volley,  followed  by  "  Good-night  "  and  silence.  Both 
English  and  Germans  put  out  targets  to  fire  at,  and  the 


THE   FIRST  WINTER  63 

conventions  were  well  observed.  It  was  bitterly  cold, 
and  fires  were  lit  along  the  trenches,  each  side  ignoring 
the  smoke.  While  on  tour  in  the  trenches  on  November 
29th  coke  braziers  were  issued,  and  proved  very  accept- 
able. On  the  following  day  sheepskins  were  supplied. 
The  next  day  saw  Very  pistols  ;  and,  little  by  little,  all  the 
familiar  accompaniments  of  trench  warfare  appeared. 

The  4th  Battalion  on  December  3rd  were  lined  up  on 
the  road  for  the  King's  visit.  After  the  terrible  experi- 
ences of  the  first  four  months  the  year  slowed  down  for 
them.  But  for  the  1st  Battalion  the  trench  tours  were 
not  without  incident.  They  were  occupying  a  position 
with  their  right  on  the  Rue  du  Bois,  south-east  of  Armen- 
tieres,  when  they  were  ordered  to  co-operate  with  the 
attack  of  the  4th  Division  east  of  Ploegsteert  on  December 
19th.  They  carried  out  this  role  by  pinning  the  enemy 
to  his  trenches  by  means  of  bursts  of  intermittent  fire. 
The  Germans  retorted  with  a  bombardment,  in  which 
Captain  G.  E.  Hepburn  was  wounded  and  one  man  killed. 
At  about  1.30  p.m.  on  the  20th  a  number  of  shells  were 
thrown  upon  a  farm  in  which  were  battalion  headquarters 
and  one  platoon.  A  few  sick  and  some  of  the  headquarters 
staff  went  into  the  cellar,  while  the  remainder  filed  into 
a  trench  in  the  rear.  It  was  an  anxious  moment,  and  a 
shell  went  through  to  the  cellar,  killing  two  men  and 
wounding  eight  others. 

Something  akin  to  a  truce  fell  over  the  armies  on 
Christmas  Day  and  the  last  days  of  the  year.  The 
trenches  were  worse  than  ever.  Parapets  fell  in,  and  it 
was  found  easier  to  build  new  trenches  than  to  drain  the 
old.  The  Saxons  opposite  the  1st  Battalion  appeared 
to  be  engaged  on  the  same  tasks.  In  the  old  days  armies 
went  into  winter  quarters.  On  the  Western  Front  in 
the  winter  of  1914  they  at  any  rate  ceased  from  major 
military  operations. 


CHAPTER   IV 

THE     FIRST   SPRING   CAMPAIGN — NEUVE     CHAPELLE,    YPRES 

Early  in  January  of  1915  Lieut. -Colonel  Campbell  took 
over  the  command  of  the  4th  Battalion,  who  suffered 
much  both  from  the  inclemency  of  the  weather  and 
from  avoidable  hardships.  The  trenches  were  almost 
intolerable  through  mud  and  water  ;  and  in  the  rest  area 
near  Ouderdom,  early  in  March,  owing  to  the  huts  not 
being  rainproof,  the  camp  became  a  sea  of  mud,  and 
afforded  little  or  no  rest  to  its  victims.  They  also  suffered 
from  the  enemy  snipers,  the  battalion  losing  no  less  than 
58  men  within  forty-eight  hours  from  hostile  rifle  fire  on 
February  23rd.  They  had,  however,  the  distinction  of 
being  thanked  in  person  by  General  Sir  H.  Smith-Dorrien 
on  March  8th  for  saving  the  situation  at  Ypres. 

Previous  to  this  their  brigade  (the  9th)  had  been 
transferred  to  the  28th  Division  to  replace  the  85th 
Brigade,  a  considerable  number  of  whom  went  sick  after 
scarcely  ten  days  in  the  firing  line.  Of  these  the  3rd  Royal 
Fusiliers  had  been  not  a  little  affected  by  the  vagaries 
of  climate,  having  only  arrived  from  India  in  December. 
They  lost  temporarily  about  25  per  cent,  of  their 
strength  owing  to  acute  bronchial  and  laryngeal  catarrh 
on  their  arrival  at  Havre,  and  large  numbers  had  to  be 
evacuated  to  hospital  with  trench  feet  during  February. 
But,  with  the  number  of  those  who  returned  to  duty  at 
the  beginning  of  March  and  several  large  drafts,  the 
battalion  attained  the  fighting  strength  of  25  officers  and 
870  other  ranks  by  March  10th. 

Neuve  Chapelle. — The  3rd  Londons  had  reached 
France  in  January,  and  on  February  17th  found  them- 
selves with  the  Garhwal  Brigade  of  the  Meerut  Division 


^5*  «? 


Major-General   Sir   Reginald  Pinney,   K.C.B.,   who    commanded 

the    23RD    Brigade    at    the    Battle    of    Neuve    Chapelle,    and 

later  the  35TH  and   33RD  Divisions. 


THE  TERRITORIALS  AT  NEUVE  CHAPELLE    65 

at  Vieille  Chapelle.  They  were  the  only  Fusilier  battalion 
to  be  engaged  in  the  operations  against  and  around  Neuve 
Chapelle.  On  March  10th  they  supported  the  advance 
of  the  2nd  Leinsters  in  the  Meerut  Division's  attack  on 
the  south  of  the  village. 

A  deviation  of  i/39th  Garhwal  Rifles  to  the  right  caused 
that  regiment  to  encounter  the  enemy's  line  beyond  the 
part  where  the  wire  had  been  destroyed  by  our  artillery 
fire,  and  in  this  fashion  a  gap  of  some  200  yards  was  left 
unaccounted  for,  with  the  result  that  the  Germans  with 
the  aid  of  machine  guns  maintained  a  steady  resistance  at 
this  point,  which  was  finally  reduced  about  6  o'clock  in 
the  evening. 

The  way  in  which  that  point  was  won  will  not  easily  be 
forgotten  by  the  3rd  Londons.  The  battalion  were  in  brigade 
reserve,  and  by  3.30  a.m.  had  taken  up  position  behind  a 
long  breastwork,  in  the  rear  of  the  trenches  along  the 
Estaires-La  Bassee  road.  The  country  still  looked  beautiful 
as  the  day  broke.  It  was  snowing  a  little,  but  the  fearful 
din  of  the  bombardment  put  every  other  thought  out  of  the 
heads  of  these  young  soldiers  as  they  lay  huddled  up  behind 
their  sandbags  for  their  first  battle  experience.  The  roars 
and  barks  of  the  guns  were  accompanied  by  the  easily 
distinguishable  ping  of  the  bullets.  At  8.5  a.m.  the 
infantry  advanced  and  the  3rd  Londons  moved  up  to  the 
forward  trenches  to  take  their  place.  Two  companies 
went  forward  to  support  the  left  of  the  attack,  and  the 
other  two  proceeded  to  a  circular  breastwork,  on  the  right 
of  the  trench  line,  known  as  "  Port  Arthur." 

It  was  about  8.30  a.m.  that  the  first  two  companies 
advanced  with  the  1st  Seaforths  and  a  company  of  the 
Garhwal  Rifles  to  support  the  left  flank.  A  Company  was 
ordered  to  take  a  house  at  the  corner  of  the  village,  which 
was  reported  to  have  a  garrison  of  about  twelve  Germans. 
The  order  was  given  to  charge  and  the  men  at  once  came 
under  a  terrible  fire.  There  were,  in  fact,  almost  a  com- 
plete company  of  Germans  well  provided  with  machine 
guns.     Captain  Pulman  fell  almost  at  once  with  about 


66      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

ten  or  a  dozen  men.  There  was  a  momentary  hesitation 
in  the  rest  of  the  company.  Lieutenant  Mathieson,  one 
of  the  gayest  and  best  beloved  of  their  officers,  then 
pushed  forward,  shouting,  with  his  infectious  smile, 
"  Come  on,  boys  ;  don't  be  shy  !  "  Few,  except  those  in 
his  immediate  neighbourhood  could  hear  him.  But  they 
saw  the  gesture  and  sprang  forward.  In  a  few  seconds  he 
fell,  shot  through  the  head,  and  died  almost  immediately. 
They  lost  indeed  terribly,  but  somehow  they  won  through 
and  helped  on  the  battle  a  little. 

The  other  two  companies  remained  in  "  Port  Arthur," 
the  ruined  part-skeleton  of  some  farm  building,  buttressed 
with  walls  of  earth  and  sandbags,  with  machine  guns 
mounted  upon  them.  At  2  p.m.  only  one  officer  had 
escaped  in  A  Company  ;  and  at  5  p.m.  the  order  came  that 
this  obdurate  German  trench  that  made  a  gap  in  the  line 
must  be  taken.  The  men  climbed  over  the  breastwork 
in  full  view  of  the  enemy  to  cross  some  200  yards  of  open 
country,  pitted  by  shells  and  strewn  with  dead,  in  a  frontal 
charge  on  the  German  position.  With  bayonets  at  the 
charge  they  rushed  across  the  open,  cheering  as  they  went. 
Lieutenant  Crichton  was  one  of  the  first  in  the  open  and, 
stepping  in  front  of  his  platoon,  he  cried,  "  Follow  me." 
He  fell  after  a  few  yards,  shot  in  the  leg.  One  or  two  men 
ran  to  help  him,  but  he  struggled  to  his  feet  and,  shouting 
"  Charge  !  "  went  on  again.  He  was  wounded  again,  this 
time  mortally.  Half  the  men  who  went  across  that  space 
became  casualties.  Men  fell  on  all  sides,  but  the  charge 
continued,  and  at  length  they  rushed  the  German  trench 
and  the  gap  was  healed.  "  It  was  the  finest  charge  I  ever 
saw,"  said  an  Indian  officer.  After  the  charge  the  wounded 
trickled  back  to  "  Port  Arthur,"  where  the  colonel  and 
another  officer  attended  to  them.  One  of  these  wounded 
boys  said  to  his  officer  with  a  smile,  "  They  can't  call  us 
Saturday  night  soldiers  now,  can  they,  sir  ?  " 

Captains  Livingston  and  Moore  remained  in  the  cap- 
tured position  for  four  days,  and  had  to  repel  a  German 
counter-attack.     It  was  during  this  period  that  Acting- 


NEUVE  CHAPELLE,   MARCH,   1915  67 

Sergeant  W.  Allen  won  the  D.C.M.  He  was  out  on  a 
reconnoitring  patrol  on  the  night  of  March  13th  and  dis- 
covered three  small  bridges  laid  down  by  the  enemy  for 
their  advance.  These  he  removed,  which  caused  the 
Germans  to  be  held  up  in  their  counter-attack,  when  they 
were  met  by  machine  guns.  This  action  was  a  splendid 
opening  of  the  Londons'  fighting.  The  3rd  Londons  lost 
8  officers  and  340  other  ranks,  but  they  had  won  their 
spurs. 

The  4th  Londons  went  into  the  trenches  at  Rue  des 
Berceaux  for  the  first  time  on  the  night  of  March  I2th/i3th 
and  their  admirable  conduct  under  most  trying  conditions 
in  a  totally  novel  experience  won  the  appreciation  of 
Major-General  H.  0.  N.  Keary,  commanding  the  Lahore 
Division,   while   visiting   the  battalion  headquarters   at 

Vieille  Chapelle  some  four  days  later. 

«  *  *  * 

It  was  about  this  time  that  the  3rd  Royal  Fusiliers  were  in 
the  trenches  east  of  Kemmel.  Orders  had  been  given  that 
considerable  activity  had  to  be  shown  by  the  troops  in 
the  trenches.  It  is  probable  that  no  soldier  ever  welcomed 
this  order.  Attacks  are  intelligible,  but  "  hates  "  merely 
meant  counter-hates.  The  role  of  this  activity  was  to 
occupy  and  preoccupy  the  Germans  during  the  attack  at 
Neuve  Chapelle,  but  it  resulted,  as  was  foreseen,  in  the 
Fusiliers'  positions  being  badly  knocked  about.  On  the 
night  of  March  9th  battalion  headquarters  were  shelled 
and  burned.  Official  correspondence,  a  machine  gun, 
rifles  and  eighty  sets  of  equipment  were  destroyed.  It 
was  on  this  occasion  that  Lieut. -Colonel  Guy  du  Maurier, 
D.S.O.,  was  killed.  Lance-Corporal  Fovargue,  who  was 
at  headquarters  at  the  time,  stated  that  they  were  asleep 
when  a  shell  suddenly  tore  off  part  of  the  roof.  The  colonel 
rushed  to  the  doorway,  and  just  as  he  reached  it  a  shell 
fell  on  the  spot  and  killed  him  instantly.  Colonel  du 
Maurier  was  not  only  an  experienced  soldier,  but  also  a 
dramatist  who  made  a  stir  with  the  war  play  "An  English- 
man's Home."    He  was  the  elder  son  of  Mr.  George  du 


F  2 


68      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Maurier,  the  famous  black  and  white  artist,  and  brother 
of  Mr.  Gerald  du  Maurier  the  artist.  Lieut. -Colonel  A.  V. 
Johnson,  D.S.O.,took  over  the  command  of  the  battalion, 
who  next  saw  service  in  the  Ypres  area.  They  took  over 
trenches  from  the  French  with  parapets  not  more  than  a 
foot  thick  at  the  top  ;  "  death  traps  "  as  a  Fusilier  officer 
aptly  termed  them. 

Second  Battle  of  Ypres. — On  April  20th  they 
moved  into  the  Gravenstafel  trenches  on  the  left  of  the 
28th  Division.  It  was  not  their  first  visit ;  and  on  the 
last  occasion  they  had  suffered  72  casualties.  On  their 
left  were  the  Canadians  with  the  French  prolonging  the 
line  to  the  north.  The  3rd  Battalion  reached  the  trenches 
when  it  was  obvious  a  German  attack  was  pending.  The 
bombardment  of  Ypres  had  begun.  Its  destruction  could 
only  mean  that  the  enemy  were  blocking  the  avenues  by 
which  supports  must  reach  the  Ypres  sector,  and  accord- 
ingly the  command  looked  for  an  attack  in  the  general 
direction  from  which,  in  fact,  it  came.  But  its  onset  was 
so  unlike  any  previous  assault  that  for  some  days  the 
position  was  critical,  and  the  Royal  Fusiliers  went  through 
a  period  of  unique  strain.  On  the  evening  of  April  22nd 
the  Germans  first  released  gas  on  the  Western  Front,  and 
the  poisonous  green  cloud  swept  away  part  of  the  French 
line  on  the  Canadians'  flank.  As  there  was  a  four-mile  gap 
in  the  line  the  Canadians  refused  their  left.  On  the  23rd 
this  flank  was  becoming  more  and  more  involved  ;  and  a 
counter-attack  was  launched  east  of  the  Ypres  Canal. 
Lieut. -Colonel  Arthur  Percival  Birchall,  an  officer  of  the 
Fusiliers  commanding  the  4th  Ontario  Battalion,  fell  in 
this  gallant  attempt  to  redeem  a  lost  position.  The 
battalion  came  under  a  very  heavy  fire  and  appeared  to 
waver.  Birchall,  carrying  a  light  cane,  with  great  calm- 
ness and  cheerfulness  rallied  his  men,  but  at  the  moment 
when  he  had  succeeded  he  was  shot  dead.  He  had  twice 
been  wounded,  but  insisted  on  continuing  with  his  com- 
mand, and  he  died  at  the  beginning  of  the  last  charge 
which  captured  the  German  shelter  trenches  and,  at  least 


SECOND   YPRES,   APRIL,   1915  69 

for  the  moment,  arrested  the  advance.  He  was  recom- 
mended for  the  Victoria  Cross. 

The  3rd  Canadian  Brigade,  on  the  left  flank,  was  now 
bent  back  almost  at  right  angles  and  they  lay  in  this 
position  when,  after  a  violent  bombardment  on  the 
morning  of  April  24th,  the  Germans  delivered  a  second 
gas  attack.  It  was  about  3.30  a.m.  ;  and  the  3rd  Brigade, 
gassed  for  a  second  time,  fell  back  to  the  south-west  of 
St.  Julien.  The  2nd  Brigade,  on  their  right,  swung  round 
to  conform,  and  the  3rd  Royal  Fusiliers  were  now  left 
almost  at  the  angle  of  the  line.  Attempts  were  made  to 
restore  the  position,  but  to  little  purpose  ;  and  on  April 
25th  the  Germans  attacked  the  2nd  East  Surreys  on  the 
Fusiliers'  right.  The  3rd  Battalion  helped  to  repel  this 
attack  with  their  machine  guns.* 

On  April  26th  the  1st  Hants  came  up  to  establish 
connection  on  the  left  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers,  and  the 
2nd  Buffs  carried  out  a  partial  relief  ;  but  in  spite  of  all 
the  Germans  penetrated  to  the  left  rear  of  the  Royal 
Fusiliers.  The  battalion's  position  was  almost  intolerable. 
Even  after  the  Germans  were  ejected  they  were  "  absolutely 
plastered  with  shell  and  every  other  kind  of  fire  from  three 
sides  at  once  the  whole  time,  with  practically  no  assistance 
at  all  from  our  guns,  and  nothing  could  exist  or  move  over 
the  ground  in  rear,  as  every  yard  of  it  was  plastered  with- 
out ceasing  by  enormous  shells."  f 

Late  on  the  afternoon  of  May  2nd  strong  bodies  of  the 
enemy  had  been  observed  moving  from  Passchendaele 
towards  the  left  trenches,  which  from  that  time  onwards 
suffered  very  severe  bombardment,  parts,  indeed,  being 
blown  to  pieces,  necessitating  their  evacuation.  Between 
April  22nd  and  May  3rd,  when  the  line  was  ordered  to 
retire,  the  3rd  Royal  Fusiliers  had  had  Lieutenant  H.  M. 
Legge,  Second  Lieutenants  A.  Hyam,  G.  Lambert, 
W.  Grady,  F.  Franklin  and  W.  Dunnington- Jefferson  and 

*  "  Great  slaughter  was  caused  by  a  machine  gun  of  the  3rd  Royal 
Fusiliers,  under  Lieutenant  Mallandain  "  (Conan  Doyle,  "  The  British 
Campaign  in  France  and  Flanders,"  Vol.  II.,  p.  64). 

f   An  officer's  statement. 


70      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

ioo  N.C.O.'s  and  men  killed,  13  officers  wounded,  and 
363  additional  casualties  among  the  other  ranks.  But 
they  had  clung  to  their  position  under  the  most  desperate 
conditions  and  had  not  given  a  yard  of  ground  until  the 
whole  line  was  ordered  to  fall  back. 

On  the  evening  of  May  3rd  the  battalion  moved  back 
to  bivouac  in  the  wood  north  of  Vlamertinghe-Poperinghe 
road,  where  they  were  inspected  by  General  Bulfin  (the 
Divisional  Commander)  on  May  4th.  At  noon  on  the  8th 
they  were  ordered  to  support  an  attack  made  by  East 
Surreys  and  the  3rd  Middlesex  between  Verlorenhoek  road 
and  Railway  to  regain  some  trenches  lost  in  that  vicinity. 
The  battalion  took  no  more  active  participation  on  this 
occasion  than  that  of  being  the  victim  of  perpetual  sniping 
from  their  front  and  right. 

However,  on  the  12th,  reinforced  by  several  large 
drafts,  they  were  relieved  by  Leicester  Yeomanry  and 
moved  back  to  bivouac  in  a  wood  east  of  Poperinghe, 
having  lost  Second  Lieutenants  W.  Curwen  and  A.  Ford, 
with  40  N.C.O.'s  and  men  killed  ;  and  there  were  3  officers 
and  141  other  ranks  additional  casualties  during  the  four 
days  of  active  support. 

In  the  severe  losses  they  suffered  the  3rd  Royal  Fusiliers 
experienced  this  consolation,  that  they  were  highly 
complimented  by  the  Commander-in-Chief  and  Brigade 
on  May  20th,  for  their  services  and  operations  extending 

from  April  22nd  to  May  13th. 

*  *  *  * 

The  4th  Londons  had  meanwhile  made  a  forced  march 

to  Ouderdom  on  April  25th,  and  delivered  an  attack  in 
support  of  the  Connaught  Rangers  at  St.  Jean,  an  effort 
which  was  unsuccessful  owing  to  the  poisonous  gas 
employed  by  the  enemy.  On  the  following  day  the 
4th  Londons  made  another  gallant  attempt,  this  time  upon 
the  right  flank  ;  but  also  unsuccessfully.  They  sustained 
heavy  losses,  Lieutenant  Coates  and  32  other  ranks  being 
killed,  7  officers  wounded  and  165  additional  casualties  to 

N.C.O.'s  and  men. 

*  #  #  * 


SPRING  CAMPAIGN,   1915  71 

Aubers  Ridge  and  Festubert. — Meanwhile  an 
attempt  was  being  made  by  the  First  Army  to  engage  the 
enemy  in  the  locality  adjoining  the  scene  of  the  Neuve 
Chapelle  operations.  The  first  part  of  the  operations 
began  on  May  9th  and  the  main  advance  was  made 
towards  Fromelles. 

On  May  8th  the  1st  Londons  had  moved  to  assembly 
positions  south  of  the  Rue  Petillon  with  A  and  B  Companies 
on  the  right  and  C  and  D  on  the  left.  On  the  following 
day,  after  an  artillery  bombardment  of  the  German  wiring 
and  trenches,  the  leading  platoons  of  A  and  C  Companies 
advanced  from  their  assembly  positions  only  to  be  recalled 
by  the  Brigadier.  At  6.10  a.m.,  however,  the  battalion 
advance  *  was  resumed,  being  carried  out  by  platoon  rushes 
during  which  the  right  half  of  the  battalion  alone  lost  3 
officers  and  120  men,  most  of  which  casualties  occurred 
before  the  river  Layes  was  reached.  At  half-past  seven 
information  was  received  that  Brig. -General  Lowry  Cole 
had  been  killed,  and  an  hour  and  a  half  later  the  battalion 
was  ordered  to  withdraw  to  the  cross-roads  at  Rue  du 
Quesnes,  from  which  they  were  directed  to  return  to 
billets  at  Bac  St.  Maur,  having  lost  in  the  operations 
Captain  G.  M.  D.  Mouat  and  Lieutenant  R.  G.  B.  Bowen 
killed,  Lieutenant  J.  Seaverns,  died  of  wounds,  Captain 
A.  A.  Lyle  and  Lieutenant  H.  J.  Boyton  wounded  and 
194  other  ranks  casualties. 

The  3rd  Londons  took  part  in  the  second  advance  which 
was  made,  farther  to  the  south,  east  of  Festubert.  The 
Londons  co-operated  with  their  former  companions,  the 
2nd  Leinsters  and  Garhwal  Rifles,  in  an  unsuccessful 
attack  on  May  16th  on  the  enemy's  trenches  not  far  from 
the  scene  of  their  previous  enterprises,  and  in  consequence 
remained  in  trenches  south  of  Neuve  Chapelle,  with  their 
headquarters  on  the  Rue  du  Bois. 

*  *  *  * 

*  "  They  advanced  over  400  yards  of  open  with  the  steadiness  of 
veterans  "  (Conan  Doyle,  "  The  British  Campaign  in  France  and 
Flanders,"  Vol.  II.,  p.  119). 


72      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Bellewarde  Ridge. — Meanwhile,  before  Ypres  there 
had  been  a  ten  days'  lull  in  the  fighting  ;  but  on  May  24th 
the  enemy  delivered  a  gas  attack.  This  was  the  worst 
discharge  of  all.  Five  miles  away,  at  Dickebusch,  the 
4th  Battalion  experienced  its  effects,  many  men  suffering 
from  sore  eyes. 

It  was  a  perfect  summer  day  and  the  light  north- 
easterly breeze  just  after  dawn  carried  the  poisonous  fumes 
across  the  British  lines  between  Shell-trap  Farm,  north 
of  the  St.  Julien  road,  and  Bellewarde  Lake.  The  surprise 
gained  the  enemy  a  considerable  advantage,  and,  as  the 
men  were  searching  for  their  respirators  there  began  a 
violent  bombardment.  It  was  a  terrible  experience, 
waking  to  this  inferno ;  and  some  of  the  troops  left  their 
trenches.  The  3rd  Battalion  were  at  this  time  lying  south 
of  the  Ypres-Roulers  railway,  and  they  at  once  found 
themselves  not  only  obliged  to  cope  with  the  poisonous 
fumes  and  the  terrible  bombardment,  but  also  with  the 
uncovering  of  their  left  flank,  where  the  troops  had  left 
the  trenches.  Half  of  No.  2  Company,  under  Second 
Lieutenants  Sealy  and  Holleny,  were  sent  to  occupy  the 
abandoned  trenches  north  of  the  railway.  Both  officers 
were  killed  later  in  the  day.  After  5  a.m.  telephone 
communication  with  brigade  headquarters  ceased,  and 
though  constantly  repaired  it  was  as  persistently  broken 
again  by  shell  fire.  Nos.  1  and  4  Companies  were  also 
cut  off  from  battalion  headquarters,  and  the  battle  line 
appeared  to  fall  to  pieces  with  small  islands  of  steadfast 
troops  alone  standing  in  the  way  of  the  German  advance. 

Major  Johnson  received  a  message  from  brigade  head- 
quarters ordering  him  to  counter-attack.  Two  companies 
of  the  Buffs  were  to  support,  and  the  East  Surreys  were  to 
co-operate  north  of  the  railway.  The  remainder  of  No.  2 
Company  and  certain  stragglers  at  once  prepared  to 
advance  against  the  ridge  from  the  road  200  yards  south 
of  the  railway  crossing;  and  at  the  same  time  a  half 
company  of  the  Buffs  moved  up  the  sunken  road  south  of 
the  wood,  close  to  the  level  crossing.    Major  Baker  crossed 


BELLEWARDE  FIGHTING,   MAY,   1915       73 

the  railway  and  sent  forward  the  other  half  of  No.  2  Com- 
pany under  Lieutenant  Sealy  with  orders  to  make  good  the 
old  trench  line  350  yards  to  the  east. 

But  now  disaster  began  to  crowd  upon  disaster.  Major 
Johnson's  attack  had  not  been  successful,  and  he  was 
wounded  and  had  to  go  to  the  dressing  station.  Major 
Baker  collected  Major  Johnson's  party  in  the  wood  south 
of  the  railway  and  placed  them  in  the  third  line  trenches. 
But  before  the  Fusiliers  had  taken  up  position  the  Ger- 
mans had  worked  round  to  the  south  of  Ridge  44  and  were 
enfilading  the  road  south  of  the  railway.  Baker  now  got 
together  some  of  his  men  and  placed  them  in  the  ditch  on 
this  road,  from  which  position  they  could  return  the 
German  fire  with  less  disadvantage.  The  Buffs'  reinforce- 
ments sent  up  were  so  thinned  out  by  shell  fire  that  when 
the  various  small  parties  were  collected  they  totalled  only 
200  ;  but  they  were  a  useful  reinforcement.  The  immediate 
danger  was  the  Germans'  turning  movement  on  the  right, 
and  the  Buffs  extended  the  line  south  of  the  road  as  a 
counter  manoeuvre. 

The  Germans  had  been  in  possession  of  our  fire  trenches 
since  8  a.m.,  but  the  surviving  150  (out  of  an  original  880) 
Royal  Fusiliers,  with  the  assistance  of  the  Buffs,  succeeded 
in  holding  the  third  line  to  the  end  of  the  day.  A  party  of 
Durham  Light  Infantry  filled  up  the  300  yards'  gap 
between  the  Royal  Fusiliers,  north  of  the  railway,  and  the 
East  Surreys.  To  complete  the  chronicle  of  disaster  the 
84th  and  80th  Brigades  attacked  that  night,  but,  after 
a  bitter  and  prolonged  struggle,  nothing  further  was 
achieved  than  a  final  checking  of  the  German  onslaught. 
A  restoration  of  the  original  position  had  proved  impossible, 
and  the  3rd  Royal  Fusiliers  were  relieved  and  left  the  line. 

In  the  final  summing  up  the  Germans  had  only  produced 
a  surface  abrasion  on  the  positions  for  which  the  Fusiliers 
had  so  obstinately  fought.  Almost  from  the  beginning 
their  plight  seemed  hopeless.  The  gas,  where  it  did  no 
worse,  made  the  men  incapable  of  all  effort ;  and  yet  the 
time  had  come  for  a  super-human  effort.    They  had  to  make 


74      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

good  the  defection  on  the  left  and,  thus  weakened,  bear 

a  heavy  onslaught  from  the  Germans,  and  finally  make  a 

deliberate  counter-attack.     By  8  a.m.  Major  Baker  was 

not  only  commanding  officer  ;   he  was  the  only  officer  left 

out  of  seventeen.     At  the  end  of  the  day  the  battalion 

casualties   amounted   to   536.      This   was   probably   the 

worst  loss  in  a  day's  battle  of  any  Fusilier  battalion 

during  the  war. 

*  *  *  * 

First  attack  on  Bellewarde. — At  the  end  of  May 

the  Germans  were  left  in  possession  of  Bellewarde  Lake, 
and  they  established  positions  which  made  an  uncom- 
fortable sag  in  the  Ypres  salient.  The  3rd  Division  was 
given  the  task  of  effecting  a  local  straightening  of  the  line 
in  this  area,  and  the  9th  Brigade  was  selected  to  storm  the 
Bellewarde  Farm  Ridge. 

The  4th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  in  position,  east  of  Cam- 
bridge Road  trench,  at  1.30  a.m.  on  June  16th,  on  the  right 
of  the  brigade  front.  Immediately  in  front  of  them  lay 
the  wood  with  a  trench  guarding  its  western  edge.  At 
2.50  a.m.  the  artillery  bombardment  began,  and  two  hours 
later  two  companies  advanced  in  half-company  column 
and  captured  the  front  German  line  without  much  resist- 
ance, the  wire  having  been  so  effectually  cut  that  no 
difficulty  was  experienced  by  our  infantry  in  climbing 
through  it  and  scaling  the  enemy  parapet.  In  some  places 
the  wire  was  swept  away  as  though  it  had  never  been. 
Dead  and  wounded  were  lying  about ;  and  the  unwounded 
appeared  to  have  been  demoralised  by  our  shell  fire — a 
welcome  change — into  surrender. 

On  the  right  the  two  supporting  companies  of  the  4th 
Battalion  pushed  through  the  wood  to  the  trench  on  the 
west  bank  of  Bellewarde  Lake.  But  they  advanced  too 
quickly  for  our  artillery  and  suffered  very  heavily,  despite 
every  attempt  to  correct  the  range  by  coloured  screens. 
At  10  a.m.  the  brigadier  of  the  7th  Brigade  had  taken  com- 
mand ;  and  he  ordered  Major  Hely  Hutchinson  to  go  into 
the  wood  which  had  been  just  captured  by  the  battalion 


HEAVY   FIGHTING,   JUNE,   1915  75 

and  organise  the  men  who  remained.     This  was  imme- 
diately done. 

But  the  bombardment  by  our  own  and  the  enemy's 
artillery  was  too  much,  and  after  considerable  loss  the 
4th  Battalion  withdrew  to  a  communication  trench  which 
had  been  turned  into  a  fire  trench  by  Captain  de  la 
Perrelle.  This  position  was  held  against  all  counter- 
attacks until  in  the  early  part  of  the  afternoon  orders  were 
received  to  retire. 

All  the  day  the  battalion  was  under  heavy  artillery  fire, 
and  during  the  afternoon  gas  shells  were  used  freely ;  but  the 
men's  behaviour  was  very  fine.  Lance-Corporal  Filter  and 
Sergeant  Jones  were  both  wounded,  but  remained  at  their 
machine  guns  until  sent  to  the  dressing  station.  Sergeant 
H.  T.  Smith  very  bravely  bandaged  two  wounded  men 
and  carried  them  to  cover,  all  under  heavy  fire  ;  and 
Private  A.  Beckett  was  killed  while  assisting  a  wounded 
comrade  along  a  trench.  Private  McGee  was  wounded  in 
two  places,  but  continued  to  carry  messages  through  the 
shell-swept  area  until  sent  to  the  dressing  station  by  his 
captain.  Indeed,  the  battle  was  full  of  heroic  deeds,  but 
at  the  end  of  the  day  only  a  handful  of  ground  remained  in 
the  hands  of  the  battalion  of  all  that  had  been  taken  in 
that  first  eager  rush,  and  the  losses  had  been  all  too  heavy. 
Of  the  22  officers  and  820  men  who  entered  battle  some 
15  officers  and  376  men  became  casualties.  Captain  and 
Adjutant  O'Donel,  who  had  been  with  the  battalion  from 
their  arrival  in  France,  was  killed.  Lieutenants  Thornton, 
Harter,  Warde  and  Rogers,  with  Second  Lieutenants 
Dudley  and  Banister,  were  also  killed.  Major  Hely 
Hutchinson  was  badly  wounded  and  Captain  de  la 
Peverelle  took  over  the  command  of  the  battalion. 

The  day's  fighting  had  been  a  very  terrible  experience, 
though  the  divisional  commander  congratulated  the 
battalion,  and  General  Allenby  talked  to  the  men  in  groups 
on  the  1 8th  and  told  them  they  had  done  the  finest  bit  of 
work  in  the  campaign. 


CHAPTER  V 

THE   SUMMER   OPERATIONS — LOOS 

As  the  spring  wore  on  to  summer  a  number  of  new 
Royal  Fusilier  battalions  made  their  way  to  France,  so 
that  at  the  opening  of  the  battle  of  Loos  there  were  nine 
Regular  and  Service  battalions  on  the  Western  Front. 
They  settled  down  very  easily,  and  showed  every  eagerness 
to  get  to  grips  with  the  enemy.    At  first  many  things  had 
the  charm  of  novelty.     When,   on  July  29th,   the  8th 
Battalion  exploded  a  mine  in  front  of  Frelinghem  and  a 
trench  mortar  threw  twenty  60  lb.  bombs  into  the  German 
trenches,  this  formed  a  wonderful  episode.     It  was  the 
first  occasion  on  which  a  trench  mortar  had  been  used  on 
the  battalion  front,  and  it  excited  great  interest.     The 
retaliation  was  even  more  engrossing,  and  a  little  dis- 
turbing, too.     On  August  9th  the  Germans  exploded  a 
mine   and   began   a   very   heavy   bombardment.      Over 
4,000  rounds  from  five  batteries  fell  on  the  battalion  front. 
The  artillery  were  asked  to  reply,  and  147  rounds  were 
fired.     The   trench  parapet  was  blown  in,  and  Second 
Lieutenant  Allen  and  C.S.M.  Perkins  gallantly  dug  out 
Lieutenant   Chell,   who  had  been   buried  by   the   mine 
explosion,  though  they  were  completely  in  the  open  and 
under  heavy  fire.    The  rest  of  the  morning  appears  to  have 
been   occupied   by   answering   indignant    expostulations 
from  the  artillery  about  the  reason  for  causing  such  a  huge 
expenditure  of  ammunition  !    But  Brig. -General  Borrow- 
dale  later  congratulated  the  battalion  on  their  soldierly 
bearing  in  this  episode.    It  was  all  very  characteristic  of 
the  period. 

On    August    18th   another   typical   incident   occurred. 


TWELFTH  BATTALION'S  ORDEAL  77 

The  10th  Battalion,  who  had  only  been  in  France  some 

eighteen  days,  were  attached  to  the  8th  for  instruction  in 

the  trenches. 

During  the  early  autumn  the  1st  Battalion  remained  in 

the  neighbourhood  of  Ypres,  and  the  4th  was  involved  in 

the  operations  about  Hooge,  which  seemed  ever  to  be 

bubbling  with  activity.     On  September  29th  the  battalion 

exploded  a  mine  under  a  German  trench,  and  the  night 

was  occupied  by  a  great  bombing  battle. 

*  *  *  * 

Loos. — But  in  the  meantime  the  army  had  launched 
the  battle  of  Loos,  which,  waged  with  intensity  for  some 
days,  set  up  ripples  throughout  the  area  for  over  a  month. 
The  attack  was  elaborately  staged  and,  in  order  to  conceal 
its  exact  dimensions,  smoke  clouds  were  released  over  an 
extensive  sector  of  the  British  front.  This  led  to  an 
amusing  incident.  The  8th  Battalion,  still  lying  near 
Houplines,  had  been  ordered  to  light  smoke  fires  along 
their  front  at  4.30  a.m.  on  the  morning  of  the  attack. 
At  4.15  this  order  was  cancelled,  and  directions  were  given 
to  raise  the  smoke  cloud  at  5.30.  The  40th  Division,  on 
the  right  of  the  8th  Battalion,  kept  to  the  original  order, 
and  about  5.0  a.m.  voices  from  the  German  trenches 
inquired  when  the  8th  Battalion  were  going  to  light  their 
straw  ! 

It  was,  however,  the  12th  Battalion,  the  last  to  arrive 
in  France,  who  were  the  first  to  be  involved  in  the  battle 
of  Loos.  They  formed  part  of  the  73rd  Brigade  of  the 
24th  Division,  one  of  the  two  reserve  units  which  Sir 
John  French  had  kept  in  hand  "  to  ensure  the  speedy  and 
effective  support  of  the  I.  and  IV.  Corps  in  case  of  their 
success."  They  had  only  arrived  in  France  on  September 
1st,  and  they  reached  Beuvry  on  the  24th  by  a  succession 
of  tiring  marches,  with  sick  cases  reported  every  day  up 
to  the  22nd.  They  had  not  yet  become  acclimatised  to 
the  realities  of  war.  They  had  had  no  trench  experience. 
Beuvry  lies  about  four  miles  from  Vermelles  as  the  crow 
flies  :  but  when  it  is  remembered  that  at  times  a  battalion 


78      ROYAL   FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

took  five  hours  to  travel  a  mile,  and  that  these  roads  were 
packed  with  traffic,  this  short  distance  will  be  appreciated 
as  a  considerable  undertaking.  The  73rd  was  the  leading 
brigade,  and  on  the  approach  march  they  were  detached 
and  led  off  by  a  staff  officer  to  the  neighbourhood  of 
Fosse  8,  perhaps  the  hottest  corner  of  the  Loos  battle 
area. 

This  only  skims  the  surface  of  the  12th  Battalion's 
difficulties.     Colonel  C.   J.   Stanton  was  destined  for  a 
brigade,  and  he  was  summoned  on  September  25th  to 
divisional   headquarters.      He    handed    over    to    Major 
R.  D.  Garnons-Williams,  who  was  ordered  to  the  front 
line    to    relieve    the    Black    Watch,    who    had    suffered 
heavily  in  the  morning  attack.     There  had  been  no  time 
for  preliminary  reconnaissance.     The  troops  were  quite 
new  to  the  area,  and  in  the  confusion  of  marching  up  the 
battalion   became   split   up.     Garnons-Williams,   with   a 
platoon  of  No.  1  and  the  whole  of  No.  2  Company,  carried 
out  the  relief ,  and  so  came  to  a  position  where  the  advance 
had  been  most  bitterly  resisted  and  the  gain  was  still  not 
admitted  to  be  final.     From  their  entry  into  the  trenches 
until  they  left  them  on  the  morning  of  the  28th,  the 
battalion    was    continually    under    shell    fire.      In    the 
mornings  and  evenings  the  trenches  were  attacked.     The 
battalion,  while  subjected  to  this  unique  ordeal,  had  no 
rations,  no  water,  no  sleep.     They  had  arrived  without 
bombs,  yet  they  beat  off  every  enemy  attack  until  the 
morning  of  the  28th,  when,  after  a  heavy  bombardment, 
the  flanking  battalions  were  attacked  and  a  footing  was 
gained  in  the  trench  on  the  battalion's  right  and  left. 
Their  position  was  now  hopeless,  and,  under  an  attack 
from  both  flanks,  they  were  forced  to  retire.     But  they 
went  back  fighting.     Lieutenant  Neynor  organised  and 
led  four  bayonet  charges  as  they  retired,  and  the  enemy 
was  driven  back. 

Meanwhile  the  other  part  of  the  battalion,  under  Major 
H.  W.  Compton,  endeavouring  to  regain  touch,  had 
halted  in  the  dark.     When  the  moon  came  out  they  were 


HOHENZOLLERN  REDOUBT,  SEPTEMBER,  1915  79 

at  once  seen,  and  shelled  in  the  open.  They  took  cover 
in  some  trenches,  and  waited  for  the  dawn.  On  the 
morning  of  the  26th  they  were  placed  by  a  staff  officer  in 
the  old  British  firing  line,  where  they  remained  until  the 
28th,  when  they  were  relieved.  The  battalion's  losses 
had  been  very  heavy.  Major  Garnons- Williams,  Captains 
Waddell  and  Phillips,  Second  Lieutenant  Newcombe 
were  killed.  Major  Gibson  and  five  other  officers  were 
wounded.  Two  officers  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Germans. 
Of  other  ranks  20  were  killed,  27  wounded,  64  wounded 
and  missing,  and  142  missing.  The  test  to  which  they 
were  subjected  one  would  say  was  too  hard  ;  but,  bearing 
in  mind  the  manner  in  which  they  bore  the  ordeal,  it  is 
inevitable  we  should  wonder  if  any  test  could  be  over- 
hard  for  such  troops. 

The  3rd  Battalion  entered  the  battle  when  the  12th 
were  near  the  end  of  their  ordeal.  On  the  evening  of 
September  25th  Fosse  8  lay  in  our  hands,  and  Hohen- 
zollern  Redoubt  lay  behind  our  lines  ;  but  on  the  morning 
of  the  27th  Fosse  8,  which,  with  its  slag  heap,  commanded 
Hohenzollern  Redoubt,  had  reverted  to  the  Germans, 
and  the  redoubt  itself  was  mainly  held  by  the  enemy. 
On  this  day  the  3rd  Battalion  were  ordered  to  take  over 
some  700  yards  of  the  German  line  north  of  the  redoubt, 
with  the  Buffs  on  their  right.  But  as  the  line  was  at  that 
moment  again  in  German  hands,  verbal  orders  were  given 
to  company  commanders  at  2  a.m.  to  attack  the  redoubt 
at  once.  No.  2  Company  was  upon  the  right,  and  No.  3 
on  the  left,  with  Nos.  1  and  4  supporting,  and  the  machine 
gunners  on  the  flanks.  The  battalion  moved  off,  preceded 
by  General  Pereira  (85th  Brigade),  who  was  hit  during  the 
afternoon,  when  the  command  of  the  brigade  devolved 
upon  Colonel  Roberts.  The  trenches  were  congested  with 
men  wounded  and  men  retiring,  but  Colonel  Roberts 
succeeded  in  leading  No.  2  Company  and  half  No.  1 
Company  into  the  redoubt,  when,  having  placed  them 
on  the  south  and  south-east  sides,  he  retired  to  brigade 
headquarters.      Major    Baker   took    command    of    the 


80      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

battalion,  and  between  6  p.m.  and  midnight  he  succeeded 
in  placing  the  battalion  on  three  sides  of  the  redoubt,  the 
East  Surreys  occupying  the  other.  The  operation  was 
carried  out  with  great  difficulty.  The  units  were  mixed. 
There  were  no  guides,  and  in  the  dark  it  was  hard  to 
recognise  the  positions. 

During  the  morning  of  the  28th  the  enemy  attacked 
the  north  face  with  bombs,  but  were  repulsed  by  No.  3 
Company.     Another  bombing  attack  followed  an  advance 
of  the  Buffs  and  Middlesex.     On  this  occasion  the  Germans 
penetrated  some  distance  up  the  south  face,  but  were 
eventually  driven  back  by  three  platoons  of  No.  2  Com- 
pany.    The  following  morning  the  enemy  bombed  down 
Little  Willie,  the  trench  leading  north  from  the  redoubt, 
and  the  north  face  of  the  redoubt  itself.     They  were  only 
forced  back  after  a  fierce  struggle,  in  which  No.  4  Company 
had  reinforced  the  East  Surreys.     No.  2  Company,  after 
attempting  to  straighten  out  the  line  by  an  advance  along 
the  southern  face,  was  caught  in  the  most  violent  attack 
of  all.     The  Middlesex,  who  had  been  holding  Big  Willie, 
the  eastern  limb  of  the  redoubt,  evacuated  it,  and  No.  2 
Company   found   its   flank   in   the    air.     The    Germans 
bombed  down  the  western  face,  and  drove  No.  2  Company 
back  almost  to  the  head  of  the  communication  trench. 
There  a  counter-attack  was  delivered  by  a  company  of 
the  Yorks  and  Lanes,  and  finally,  after  heavy  loss,  Nos.  2 
and  4  Companies  drove  the  Germans  out  of  the  western 
face  and  Big  Willie,  and  blocked  the  southern  face.     As 
far  as  the  3rd  Battalion  goes,  this  disposition  survived 
attack.     On   the   morning   and   afternoon   of   the   30th 
bombing  attacks  along  the  southern  face  were  all  repulsed. 
Captain    Sutton    arranged    stores    of   bombs    along   the 
western  face  and  relief  bombers,  to  be  despatched  to  any 
point  as  needed.     At  4  a.m.  the  following  morning  the 
battalion  was  relieved.     They  marched  to  Beuvry  much 
weaker  than  they  set  out.     Captain  R.   S.   Scholefield, 
Lieutenant  G.  Murray  Smith,  Second  Lieutenants  S.  W. 
Bowes,  J.  E.  Bull,  G.  H.  L.  Ohlmann  and  J.  V.  C.  Batten 


HULLOCH,   SEPTEMBER— OCTOBER,   1915     Si 

had  been  killed,  and  12  other  officers  wounded.     Among 

other  ranks  the  casualties  totalled  337. 

*  *  #  * 

On  September  30th  the  8th  Battalion  relieved  the  Irish 
Guards  in  trenches  captured  from  the  Germans  on  the 
25th  in  front  of  Hulloch.  The  following  day  there  was 
very  heavy  shelling  by  both  sides.  The  British  shelling 
made  it  impossible  to  carry  out  the  order  to  dig  a  jumping- 
off  trench  in  front  of  B  Company's  trench.  For  the  latter, 
and  the  ground  in  front  of  it,  were  constantly  under  our 
own  shrapnel,  as  the  battery  had  had  orders  to  prevent  the 
Germans  from  wiring  this  ground  !  The  9th  Battalion  had 
occupied  neighbouring  trenches  on  September  30th,  and 
both  battalions,  after  a  few  days  out  of  the  trenches, 
moved  up  again  on  October  13th.  The  9th  Battalion,  on 
this  occasion,  arrived  at  the  German  old  line  at  10.30  p.m., 
after  having  taken  nearly  five  hours  to  cover  about  a  mile. 
The  35th  Brigade  had  attacked  that  day,  and  the  8th  at 
night  had  two  companies  carrying  bombs  for  them,  the 
other  two  being  in  trenches  north  of  the  Hulloch  road  in 
support  of  the  37th  Brigade. 

Another  small  attack  was  delivered  by  troops  of  the 
same  division  on  October  18th.  A  German  trench  west 
of  the  Quarries  was  attacked  by  the  Essex  and  the  9th 
Battalion  supported  with  two  squads  of  bombers  under 
Second  Lieutenant  W.  W.  Smith.  The  detachment 
undoubtedly  consumed  a  large  supply  of  bombs,  and  the' 
attack  was  successful.  The  trench  was  captured  and  con- 
solidated. A  and  B  Companies  were  in  the  fire  trenches, 
and  the  battalion  were  responsible  for  Pt.  54,  with  the 
support  of  the  Berks.  At  night  the  9th  were  pleased  to 
receive  a  message  from  the  Guards  saying,  "  Well  done, 
neighbours.     Many  thanks  for  splendid  co-operation." 

The  Essex  were  not  left  in  undisturbed  possession  of 
their  gains.  On  the  following  day  there  was  a  sharp 
attack  on  the  captured  trench.  The  bombardment  began 
at  7  a.m.,  and  the  new  trench  came  under  a  concentrated 
fire  about  3.30.     Shortly  afterwards  an  attack  developed 


82       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

on  the  line  of  the  9th  Battalion,  and  the  8th  sent  up 

32  bombers  under  Second  Lieutenants  Oliver  and  Barrow. 

Oliver  was  killed  and  Barrow  wounded,  but  they  had 

assisted  in  beating  off  the  attack.     A  more  serious  mishap 

was  the  wounding  of  Lieut. -Colonel  Anneslcy  while  he 

was  directing  the  8th  to  "  stand  to." 

*  *  *  * 

But  the  battle  had  by  this  time  practically  died  down, 
and  the  battlefield  sank  into  that  uneasy  state  of  rest 
which  covered  the  whole  line.  Winter  had  come,  and  the 
new  battalions  had  time  to  grow  accustomed  to  the 
realities  of  the  war.  Many  of  them  amused  themselves 
by  erecting  notice-boards  near  the  German  trenches  when 
any  particularly  heartening  piece  of  news  was  available. 
Thus,  on  December  10th  the  10th  Battalion  placed  a  large 
notice-board  with  a  report  of  a  peace  demonstration  in 
Berlin  on  the  German  wire.  Three  months  later  the 
enemy  retaliated  with  a  German  cartoon  showing  a 
Highlander  gathering  the  German  harvest.  On  the  back 
was  written  "  Come  on  and  let  us  have  drink  at  Doberitz, 
the  newest  British  colony."  This  was  found,  neatly 
wrapped  in  oilskin  near  the  battalion's  wire  ;  but,  unfortu- 
nately, the  postmen  were  shot. 

The  Chord. — By  this  time,  however,  local  actions  had 
begun,  and  in  two  of  them  the  Royal  Fusiliers  were 
engaged.  The  first  was  the  action  on  March  2nd,  1916, 
at  the  Hohenzollern  Redoubt,  and  was  carried  out  by  the 
8th  and  9th  Battalions.  The  objective  was  The  Chord, 
joining  Big  Willie  and  Little  Willie.  At  5.45  p.m.  the 
8th  Battalion,  on  the  left  (or  north),  exploded  three  mines 
and  the  9th  four.  The  largest  of  the  latter  ("A")  was 
intended  to  wreck  the  bulk  of  The  Chord,  but  it  only 
affected  about  one-third  of  its  length.  The  trench  mortars 
and  artillery  were  to  have  begun  simultaneously,  but  the 
former  began  half  an  hour  and  the  latter  a  quarter  of  an 
hour  earlier.  Immediately  after  the  explosion  of  the 
mines  50  men  of  A  Company  of  the  8th  Battalion,  under 
Captain  A.  K.  K.  Mason  and  Second  Lieutenant  Wardrop, 


HOHENZOLLERN   REDOUBT,   MARCH,   1916    83 

and  5o'men  of  B  Company  of  the  9th,  under  Captain  the 
Hon.  R.  E.  Philipps,  rushed  across  and  seized  the  part  of 
The  Chord  allotted  to  them.  Twenty  of  Philipps'  party  were 
buried  through  the  explosion  of  the  mine  blowing  in  part 
of  the  assembly  trench,  and  Philipps  was  slightly  wounded 
in  the  face.  But  the  men  went  forward  rapidly  and  either 
cut  through  the  wire  or  went  over  it  where  it  was  covered 
by  the  earth  cast  up  by  the  explosion.  Of  the  party  of 
the  8th  Battalion,  only  Wardrop  and  one  man  reached 
The  Chord,  the  rest  being  either  killed  or  wounded. 
Captain  Mason  was  killed,  but  reinforcements  were  sent 
out,  and  A  Company,  though  bombed  along  The  Chord  to 
within  thirty  yards  of  "A,"  where  they  found  contact  with 
the  9th  Battalion,  held  to  the  position.  Major  Cope  * 
took  24  men  up  to  Wardrop,  and  the  position  was  held  for 
the  rest  of  the  day.  Meanwhile  C  Company,  under  Chard, 
had  seized  Crater  "  C,"  the  northernmost,  and  A  Company 
had  taken  "B"  Crater,  on  the  right  of  "C."  Thus  all 
the  craters  had  been  occupied  according  to  plan,  but  there 
was  still  a  body  of  Germans  holding  out  in  The  Chord. 

The  9th  Battalion  had,  in  the  meantime,  seized  their 
objectives.  They  found  many  Germans  in  their  sector 
of  The  Chord  who,  though  dazed,  did  not  surrender  and 
consequently  had  to  be  killed.  There  followed  a  number 
of  fierce  grenade  fights,  the  Germans  rushing  down  from 
the  north  end  of  The  Chord  and  along  the  trenches  leading 
from  the  east  into  it.  C  Company,  under  Major  N.  B. 
Elliott-Cooper,  rushed  Craters  Nos.  1,  2  and  "  A"  ;  and  then 
seized  the  crater  in  the  Triangle.  The  grenade  attack 
on  the  right  lost  direction,  and  Sergeant  Cronyn  rushed 
down  the  south-east  face  of  the  Triangle  into  Big  Willie, 
throwing  grenades  into  the  crowded  dug-outs,  until  held 
up  by  a  party  of  Germans.  A  fierce  grenade  encounter 
followed  until  the  Triangle  was  consolidated.  The  8th 
had  to  call  on  the  supporting  battalion  before  the  day 
was  over,  but  the  craters  were  held  against  enemy  bombing 
attacks  during  the  night. 

*  Major  Cope  and  Colonel  Annesley  were  both  granted  the  D.S.O. 

G   2 


84       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Though  both  battalions  lost  heavily,  the  operation  on 
the  whole  had  been  most  successful.  On  the  part  of  the 
9th  Battalion  it  had  been  particularly  so,  and  Lieut. - 
Colonel  Gubbins  was  awarded  the  D.S.O.,  Major  Elliott- 
Cooper,  Captain  the  Hon.  R.  E.  Philipps  and  Lieutenant 
E.  W.  T.  Beck  the  M.C. ;  Sergeant  Cronyn,  Lance-Corporal 
A.  Lowrey  and  Private  Mcintosh  received  the  D.C.M.  The 
battalion  also  received  warm  congratulations  from  General 
Gough,  G.O.C.  I.  Corps  ;  General  Scott,  G.O.C.  12th 
Division  ;  and  from  Brigadier-General  Boyd  Moss,  G.O.C. 
36th  Brigade.  Both  battalions  were  mentioned  in 
Sir  Douglas  Haig's  despatch  of  May  12th,  1916. 

St.  Eloi. — A  more  imposing  operation  was  that  carried 
out  by  the  4th  Battalion  with  the  1st  Northumberland 
Fusiliers  on  March  27th.  This  attack  was  described  in 
the  despatch  of  May  12th,  and  in  the  published  edition  of 
the  despatches  it  is  illustrated  by  a  plan.  The  object  was 
to  straighten  "  out  the  line  at  St.  Eloi,"  and  cut  "  away 
the  small  German  salient  which  encroached  on  the  semi- 
circle of  our  line  in  the  Ypres  salient  to  a  depth  of  about 
100  yards  over  a  front  of  some  600  yards.  The  operation 
was  begun  by  the  firing  of  six  very  large  mines  ;  the  charge 
was  so  heavy  that  the  explosion  was  felt  in  towns  several 
miles  behind  the  lines,  and  large  numbers  of  the  enemy 
were  killed.  Half  a  minute  after  the  explosion  our 
infantry  attack  was  launched,  aiming  at  the  German 
second  line."  *  The  right  attack  by  the  Northumberland 
Fusiliers  met  with  little  opposition  ;  but  the  4th  Royal 
Fusiliers  fared  very  differently. 

The  attackf  was  launched  at  4.15  a.m.,  with  W  and  X 

*  Despatch. 

f  There  is  little  use  in  amplifying  this  account.  The  episode  seems, 
on  calm  reflection,  to  have  been  the  most  tragic  of  any  in  which  the 
Royal  Fusiliers  figured.  There  can  be  no  possible  doubt  of  the  splendid 
gallantry  of  officers  and  men.  There  is  as  little  doubt  as  to  the  skill  of 
the  command.  No  troops  could  have  done  better  ;  but  a  certain 
glamour  surrounded  the  action  of  the  Northumberland  Fusiliers  because 
of  their  greater  success.  It  is  one  of  the  many  instances  in  which  the 
caprice  of  fate  involved  a  grave  injustice. 


ST.   ELOI,   MARCH,   1916  85 

Companies  on  the  left  and  Y  and  Z  on  the  right.  The 
men  ran  forward  on  the  explosion  of  the  mines,  but  they 
were  met  by  intense  rifle,  machine  gun  and  artillery  fire. 
The  Germans  appear  to  have  been  fully  on  the  alert,  and 
the  battalion  at  once  lost  heavily.  They  stormed  the 
German  wire,  unbroken  as  it  was,  and  took  the  first 
German  trench.  But  they  had  been  so  weakened  and  the 
opposition  was  so  heavy  that  they  could  get  no  further, 
and  the  ground  was  consolidated.  The  rest  of  the  day 
was  occupied  by  an  artillery  duel.  The  German  fire  was 
intense,  and  until  midnight  it  was  impossible  to  relieve 
the  battalion.  Small  parties  of  the  2nd  Royal  Scots  then 
began  to  get  through,  but  the  relief  was  not  complete  until 
6  a.m.  on  March  28th.  The  casualties  for  the  day  were  10 
officers  and  255  other  ranks.  Captain  Moxon,  Second 
Lieutenants  Tothill,  Howard,  Boddy  and  Perrier,  were 
killed,  and  Lieutenant  Hardman  died  of  wounds  on  the 
30th.  It  was  on  the  29th  that  the  chaplain,  the  Rev.  N. 
Mellish,  went  out  repeatedly  with  a  volunteer  party  to 
get  in  the  wounded,  and  he  was  awarded  the  Victoria  Cross, 
being  the  first  chaplain  to  receive  it  during  the  war. 

The  action  of  March  27th  was  but  the  beginning  of  a 
long  series  of  local  attacks  and  counter-attacks  in  this 
area  until  May  19th,  when  the  status  quo  ante  was  perforce 
accepted  as  the  best  compromise. 


CHAPTER  VI 

THE   GREAT   ADVENTURE — GALLIPOLI 

"  It  was  an  impossible  task  for  any  but  highly-disciplined, 
well-trained,  skilfully-led,  heroically  brave,  grimly-determined 
Britishers,  animated  by  high  ideals,  and  upheld  by  the  tradi- 
tions of  their  battalions  and  of  their  race.  It  may  truly  be 
called  the  achievement  of  the  impossible." — Lieut. -General 
Sir  Aylmer  Hunter -Weston,  M.P.,  "  The  Times,"  June  yth, 
1921. 

Meanwhile  the  2nd  *  Battalion  had  written  a  memor- 
able page  in  one  of  the  most  tragic  episodes  of  the  war. 
Landing  on  the  Gallipoli  Peninsula  with  the  29th  Division 
on  April  25th,  they  saw  the  campaign  through  to  its  close 
in  brilliant  failure. 

At  the  outbreak  of  the  war  the  battalion  was  in  India, 
and  it  did  not  embark  for  England  until  December. 
January  18th,  1915,  a  week  after  they  had  settled  down 
at  Stockingford,  was  the  first  day  of  mobilisation  ;  and  a 
few  days  later  Lieutenant  J.  V.  Scudmore  and  Second 
Lieutenant  H.  Cooper  handed  over  the  colours  to  the 
Lord  Mayor  of  London.  But  the  29th  Division,  of  which 
the  battalion  formed  part,  was  not  destined  to  leave 
England  yet.  It  was  not  until  March  that  orders  arrived 
which  suggested  an  Eastern  destination.  On  March  12th 
the  division,  now  commanded  by  General  Hunter- Weston, 
was  inspected  by  the  King  near  Dunchurch,  and  four  days 
later  the  battalion  embarked  on  S.S.  Alaunia  at  Avon- 
mouth. 

Alaunia  steamed  her  stately  way  through  beautiful 
weather  to  the  Eastern  Mediterranean.  When  she  was 
still  some  distance  from   Gibraltar  the   navy  began  its 

*  General  Hamilton's  despatch  speaks  of  the  battalion  as  the  "  ist." 


■f. 

- 


SECOND   BATTALION   IN   EGYPT  87 

attack  on  the  Narrows.  But  apparently  there  was  no 
advantage  in  speed,  and  the  division  waited  a  few  days 
at  Malta.  Alaunia  then  steamed  towards  Lemnos  until 
the  night  of  the  26th,  when,  in  conformity  with  orders 
received  by  wireless,  she  changed  her  course  and  at  length 
arrived  at  Alexandria  on  Palm  Sunday,  March  28th,  about 
noon.  The  troops  did  not  disembark  until  the  following 
day,  when  they  proceeded  to  Mex  Camp.  The  routine  of 
the  next  few  days  outlined  with  sufficient  accuracy  the 
task  which  the  battalion  was  to  undertake.  There  were 
practice  disembarkations  with  subsequent  attacks  on 
enemy  positions.  One  of  the  Lancashire  Fusiliers 
attempted  to  relieve  the  tedium  by  almost  drowning  him- 
self while  bathing  in  a  rough  sea,  but  Lieutenant  Anstice, 
who  added  a  happy  zest  for  life  to  a  facility  for  finding 
adventures,  very  bravely  rescued  him. 

The  routine  became  a  little  more  strenuous  and  life-like 
after  the  battalion  reached  Lemnos  on  April  nth.  The 
mere  operation  of  disembarkation  as  carried  on  in  some  of 
these  rehearsals  was  the  reverse  of  inspiriting.  The  vessel 
stood  high  out  of  the  water,  and  to  enter  a  boat,  bobbing 
up  and  down  in  the  water,  by  means  of  a  rope  ladder  was 
like  leaving  the  roof  of  a  sky-scraper  by  means  of  a  spider's 
web  leading  to  a  cockle-shell.  Fortunately  the  operation 
was  simplified  for  the  landing  on  the  peninsula.  Implacable 
did  not  stand  nearly  so  high  out  of  the  water,  and  wooden 
ladders  were  let  down  to  the  boats. 

On  the  evening  of  the  23rd  the  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  left 
Lemnos  with  the  covering  force  for  Tenedos,  where  the 
last  preparations  were  carried  out.  There  the  battalion 
was  split :  W  and  X  Companies,  with  headquarters,  went  on 
board  H.M.S.  Implacable  about  7  p.m.  on  the  24th,  while 
Y  and  Z,  with  Major  L.  Brandreth,  went  on  board  a  mine- 
sweeper. About  10.30  p.m.  the  approach  to  Gallipoli 
began.  The  night  was  calm  and  clear,  and  the  short 
journey  was  made  under  a  brilliant  moon.  The  two 
companies  on  Implacable  had  a  hot  breakfast  about 
3.30  a.m.  (April  25th),  and  the  men  were  then  put  into 


88       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

boats.  The  moon  had  already  set,  and  the  night  had 
become  dark  and  still.  At  4.45  the  fleet  bombardment 
began,  and  about  half  an  hour  later  Implacable  steamed 
in  until  her  anchor,  hanging  over  the  bows  to  six  fathoms, 
dragged.  On  each  side  of  her  were  two  tows  of  six  boats. 
The  difficulty  of  the  task  which  these  heroic  troops  were 
about  to  undertake  is  now  commonly  realised ;  but 
although  Sir  Ian  Hamilton  pays  it  lip-service  in  his 
admirable  despatch,  the  objective  visualised  for  the 
covering  force  shows  no  appreciation  of  it.  In  point  of 
fact,  this  objective,  "the  ridge  across  the  peninsula, 
point  344 — Achi  Baba  peak — 472 — coast  line,"  remained 
to  the  end  an  unrealised  dream.  The  Turks  had  had  full 
warning,  and  had  prepared  for  the  reception  of  their 
uninvited  guests  with  a  defence  built  upon  their  own 
unquestioned  courage  and  the  conscientious  organisation 
of  their  German  allies. 

Before  the  attack  was  launched  Brig. -General  S.  W. 
Hare,  the  officer  commanding  the  covering  force,  issued 
the  following  order  to  the  86th  Brigade  :  "  Fusiliers,  our 
brigade  is  to  have  the  honour  to  be  the  first  to  land  to 
cover  the  disembarkation  of  the  rest  of  the  division.  Our 
task  will  be  no  easy  one.  Let  us  carry  it  through  in  a 
way  worthy  of  the  traditions  of  the  distinguished  regiments 
of  which  the  Fusilier  Brigade  is  composed,  in  such  a  way 
that  the  men  of  Albuhera  and  Minden,  of  Delhi  and 
Lucknow,  may  hail  us  as  their  equals  in  valour  and  military 
achievement,  and  that  future  historians  may  say  of  us,  as 
Napier  said  of  the  Fusilier  Brigade  at  Albuhera,  '  Nothing 
could  stop  this  astonishing  infantry.'  The  Fusilier 
Brigade  certainly  deserved  this  tribute  for  the  landing  at 
Gallipoli,  and  no  unit  more  than  the  Royal  Fusiliers. 

The  landing  place  of  the  2nd  Battalion  was  a  small 
natural  amphitheatre  with  a  narrow  floor  of  sand  about 
200  yards  long,  lying  on  the  north-west  face  of  the  penin- 
sula. The  cliff  was  some  100  feet  high,  rising  somewhat 
steeply  from  the  beach,  and  there  was  no  natural  way  up. 
The  boats  were  towed  in  by  the  pinnaces  to  about  100  yards 


■ife 


THE  LANDING,   APRIL  25TH,   1915  89 

from  the  beach,  when,  cast  off,  they  had  to  look  to  them- 
selves. Each  boat  had  a  midshipman  and  two  blue- 
jackets, who  were  to  take  them  to  the  mine-sweeper  when 
the  first  half  of  the  battalion  had  landed. 

The  men  rowed  in  as  rapidly  as  possible  until  the  boats 
grounded,  when  they  jumped  into  the  water,  and 
waded  ashore.  In  places  the  men  were  chest-deep  in 
the  sea  ;  and,  in  any  case,  the  thorough  wetting  would 
have  been  a  very  dangerous  handicap  where  success  and 
the  cost  of  it  depended  on  speed.  But  apparently  no  one 
thought  of  this  handicap,  and  the  men  forced  their  way 
ashore  and  scrambled  up  the  crumbling  cliff.  Up  to  this 
point  the  battalion  had  suffered  hardly  any  casualties- 
The  beach  "  X  "  was  naturally  less  likely  to  encourage  a 
landing,  and  Implacable  s  most  skilful  covering  fire  kept 
down  the  Turkish  reply  until  the  cliff  was  topped.  Colonel 
Newenham  signalled  the  position  of  a  half-battery  of 
Turkish  guns  in  the  scrub  in  front  of  the  centre  of  the 
battalion,  and  they  were  promptly  knocked  out  by  the 
battleship's  fire.  After  that  its  immediate  usefulness  was 
small,  and  the  Royal  Fusiliers  ran  into  a  heavy  converging 
fire.  But  there  was  no  hesitation,  no  wavering,  and  the 
men  kept  on  and  rapidly  seized  one  of  the  Turkish  trenches. 

By  this  time  Y  and  Z  Companies,  with  Brandreth,  were 
disembarking  from  the  boats  which  had  landed  the  first 
half  of  the  battalion  ;  and  Lieut. -Colonel  Newenham,  with 
an  instant  appreciation  of  the  situation,  sent  X  (Captain 
F.  K.  Leslie)  to  the  left  front,  W  (Major  G.  S.  Guy  on)  to 
the  centre  and  right  front,  and  then,  taking  all  the  troops 
he  could  gather,  marched  towards  the  right  *  to  effect  a 

*  The  objective,  as  stated  in  Colonel  Newenham's  Operation  Order 
No.  1,  was  "  Hill  114,  and  secure  flank  towards  N.E."  One  company 
of  the  Lancashires  was  to  assist  in  taking  Hill  114. 

The  disposition  (same  order)  was  as  follows  :  "  On  landing,  W 
Company  will  be  on  the  right  and  X  on  the  left.  The  cliff  will  at  once 
be  scaled  in  platoons  or  half-platoons.  The  trench  at  top  of  cliff  will 
be  immediately  rushed  with  bayonets.  X  Company  will  then  be 
prepared  to  attack  on  the  left  (N.),  and  W  Company  will  be  prepared  to 
the  right  (S.).  As  soon  as  Y  and  Z  Companies  land,  Z  Company  will  at 
once  ascend  the  cliff  in  platoons  or  half-platoons.     Y  Company  will 


go      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

junction  with  the  Lancashires  at  "  W "  beach.  The 
smallest  pardonable  indecision  at  this  point,  and  the  whole 
landing  would  have  failed.  Colonel  Newenham  had 
learned  by  signal  that  the  troops  on  "  Y  "  beach  were  hard 
beset,  and  could  not  join  with  his  force  on  "  X,"  and  that 
the  landing  on  "  V  "  was  hung  up.  He  had  seen  that  the 
Lancashires  were  suffering  terribly  in  even  approaching 
their  beach. 

The  little  force  which  marched  towards  the  Lancashire 
landing  was  made  up  of  W  and  part  of  Z  Company  (Major 
F.  Moore).  Y  (Major  W.  A.  B.  Daniell)  was  left  as  a 
reserve  and  to  carry  ammunition  and  water,  and  the  orders 
were  to  hold  on  left  and  front.  Between  "  X"  and  "  W  " 
beaches  lay  Cape  Tekke,  crowned  by  Tekke  Hill  (Hill  114) ,  * 
and,  in  order  to  join  hands  with  the  Lancashires,  the  Royal 
Fusiliers  had  to  carry  it.  The  hill  had  been  elaborately 
entrenched  and  was  also  defended  by  land  mines,  but 
about  11  a.m.  the  Fusiliers,  cheered  on  by  Impiacable's 
crew,  carried  it  at  the  point  of  the  bayonet.  The  battalion 
sent  back  about  sixty  prisoners.  They  then  re-formed  and 
advanced  north-east  and  east,  and  met  with  heavy  opposi- 
tion on  the  reverse  side  of  the  hill.  The  Turks  were 
dislodged  from  their  entrenchments,  and  the  Royal 
Fusiliers  then  dug  in  for  the  night.  They  had  achieved 
contact  with  the  Lancashires,  and  their  role  had  been  amply 
filled. 

Meanwhile,  X  Company  had  fought  through  as  terrible 
an  experience  as  any  troops  on  the  peninsula.  Between 
"  Y  "  beach  and  "  X  "  beach  was  a  considerable  Turkish 
force  at  "  Y2  "  or  "  Gully  "  beach.  The  first  300  yards 
of  the  advance  to  the  left  from  "  X "  beach  was 
made  against  little  opposition  ;  and  the  Turks,  retiring 
at  9  a.m.,  left  the  first  line  of  trenches  in  Captain  Leslie's 
hands.     But  the  Turks  fell  back  upon  heavy  reinforcements 

first  unload  the  boats,  and  then  be  prepared  to  support  Z  Company  or 
to  carry  up  stores,  as  is  necessary." 

*  This  hill  cannot  be  accurately  described  as  between  "  V  "  and 
"  W  "  beaches,  as  in  General  Hamilton's  despatch. 


THE  CRISIS  ON  APRIL  25TH 


9i 


at  "  Y2,"  and  when  X  Company  approached  the  second 
line  they  became  involved  in  heavy  fighting.  Part  of 
Y  Company  went  up  in  support,  but  the  struggle  gathered 
in  intensity,  and  the  centre  began  to  give  way.  The  main 
mass  of  the  battalion  had  been  concentrated  on  the  flanks 
and  had  marched  outwards,  and  the  centre  was  inevitably 
thinned.     Part  of  Z  had  been  extended  to  the  left,  and  the 


Sketch  Map  showing  the  Tosition  at  the  South-West  of  Galli- 
poli  on  the  Night  of  April  25TH,  1915,  on  the  Night  of 
the  26th,  and  up  to  May  17TH,  1915. 

The  various  lines  show  the  stages  in  the  advance.  The  disposition 
of  the  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  on  the  night  of  April  25th  gives  some 
suggestion  of  the  strain  through  which  they  had  passed  during  the  day. 

whole  of  Y  had  become  involved.  A  remnant  of  Leslie's 
company  began  to  fall  back  under  cover  of  a  platoon  of 
Z,  commanded  by  Lieutenant  Jebens. 

But  at  3  p.m.  Shafto  informed  Colonel  Newenham  that 
the  centre  was  falling  back  ;  and  for  a  moment  it  seemed 
as  if  the  whole  position  was  crumbling,  just  when  it  had 
been  so  dearly  won.  At  this  critical  juncture  Colonel 
Newenham  telephoned  to  the  87th  Brigade,  who  were 
now  landing  at  "  X  "  beach,  and  a  little  later  the  1st 


92       ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

Border  Regiment  reinforced  the  left  of  the  line.  For  the 
rest  of  the  day  X  was  attached  to  them,  and  at  night  lay 
on  their  left.  In  the  attack  on  Hill  114,  Colonel 
Newenham  had  been  wounded.  He  was  assisted  into  a 
little  gully  with  some  other  wounded,  but  between  3  and 
4  p.m.,  when  the  line  appeared  to  be  giving  at  a  number  of 
points,  the  little  party  was  almost  cut  off  and  captured. 
With  the  assistance  of  the  Border  Regiment  and  the 
1st  Royal  Inniskilling  Fusiliers,  the  line  was  consolidated  ; 
and  though  it  was  heavily  attacked  and  under  a  sustained 
fire  during  the  night,  the  dawn  saw  the  Turks  fall  back  to 
a  rear  position. 

From  the  force  eventually  required  to  hold  the  line 
some  idea  of  the  magnitude  of  the  2nd  Battalion's  achieve- 
ment may  be  gathered.     At  night  they  lay  somewhat 
scattered  along  the  rim  of  the  cliff.     Between  the  small 
party  on  the  extreme  left  and  the  section  on  the  left  of 
the  Lancashires  lay  the  Border  Regiment  and  the  Innis- 
killings.     The  battalion's  losses  had  been  very  heavy. 
Lieut. -Colonel  Newenham  *  and  Major  Brandreth,  second 
in  command,  were  both  wounded.     Of  X  Company  only 
O'Connell    remained,    with    about    a    platoon.     Captain 
Leslie  and  Lieutenant  R.  E.  G.  A.  de  Trafford  were  killed. 
Captain  Tottenham   and   Lieutenant   S.   Winslade   were 
wounded.     Lieutenants   J.   V.    Scudamore    (W)    and   M. 
Brickland  (Y)  were  killed.     Second  Lieutenants  Hanham 
and  Collings  were  wounded.     No  company  commander 
escaped,  and  the  battalion  was  reduced  to  about  half 
strength.     But  a  careful  study  of  the  situation  during 
this  day  makes  it  evident  that  their  contribution  had  been 
decisive.     The   troops   at   "  Y "   beach   were   held,   and 
actually  withdrew  the  following  day.     The  landing  at 
"  V "    beach   was   in   the   air.     The   first   hours   of   the 

*  Colonel  Newenham  had  the  hard  fate  of  only  seeing  the  battalion 
he  had  so  carefully  trained  in  action  on  this  one  occasion.  But  the 
praise  which  it  won  from  the  closest  observer,  quoted  several  times  in 
these  pages,  for  its  efficiency,  discipline,  and  courage,  is  sufficient 
tribute  to  his  command.  He  was  granted  a  well-deserved  C.B.  for  his 
services  on  this  occasion. 


Brig. -General    H.   E.   B.   Newenham,    C.B.,  who    commanded  the 
2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  in   the  Landing  at  Gallipoli. 


THE  NIGHT  AFTER  THE   LANDING         93 

Lancashires'  landing  found  them  hardly  able  to  do  more 
than  hang  on.  The  swift  march  upon  and  capture  of 
Hill  114  turned  the  scale  on  "  W"  beach  ;  and  with  the 
linking  of  the  two  beaches  a  feasible,  if  precarious,  foothold 
was  established  on  the  peninsula.* 

Captain  Moore's  wound  proved  slight,  and  on  the  night 
of  the  landing  he  took  over  the  command  of  the  battalion. 
On  the  afternoon  of  the  26th  they  had  to  beat  off  two 
determined  Turkish  attacks.  The  first  assault  was  made 
with  a  force  estimated  at  1,500,  and  the  second,  half  an 
hour  later,  with  an  additional  thousand.  The  Turks 
achieved  no  success,  and  Hill  141,  to  the  right  of  "V 
beach,  having  been  taken,  the  Turks  could  be  seen  with- 
drawing towards  Achi  Baba.  On  the  following  day  a 
general  advance  was  made  without  opposition,  the 
86th  Brigade  being  in  divisional  reserve. 

On  the  28th  there  occurred  one  of  those  unfortunate 
incidents  which  seemed  to  appear  with  undue  frequency 
on  the  peninsula.  The  battalion  advancing  on  the 
extreme  left,  by  the  coast,  were  ordered  to  move  to  the 

*  A  few  sentences  in  General  Hamilton's  despatch  tend  to  give  a 
wrong  impression  of  the  battalion's  achievement :  "  The  battalion  then 
advanced  to  attack  the  Turkish  trenches  on  Hill  114  ..  .  but  were 
heavily  counter-attacked  and  forced  to  give  ground.  Two  more 
battalions  of  the  87th  Brigade  soon  followed  them,  and  by  evening  the 
troops  had  established  themselves  .  .  .  as  far  south  as  Hill  114."  The 
Royal  Fusiliers  not  only  carried  the  hill  positions,  but  by  2  p.m.  had  also 
taken  the  entrenchments  on  the  further  side.  Help  from  the  87th 
Brigade  came  at  least  two  hours  later,  and  to  the  weakened  centre,  not 
to  the  victorious  right.  The  despatch,  speaking  of  the  Lancashires, 
also  says  that  "  a  junction  was  effected  on  Hill  114  with  the  Royal 
Fusiliers,"  without  any  suggestion  that,  unless  the  2nd  Battalion  had 
promptly  marched  upon  and  seized  it,  there  would  have  been  no 
possibility  of  effecting  a  junction.  Mr.  Nevinson  shows  a  better 
appreciation  of  the  position  when  he  says  (speaking  of  the  Lancashires 
on  "W"  beach),  "  No  further  advance  could  be  made  until  2  p.m., 
when,  owing  to  the  positions  held  by  the  two  companies  on  the  left,  the 
landing  had  become  fairly  secure  "  ("  The  Dardanelles  Campaign," 
p.  103).  The  position  held  by  these  two  companies  was  made  possible 
by  the  decisive  march  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers.  General  Callwell  summed 
up  this  episode  in  the  words  :  "  The  success  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  at 
beach  '  X  '  must  be  set  down  as  a  particularly  memorable  exploit  " 
("  The  Dardanelles,"  p.  67). 


94      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

support  of  the  88th  Brigade,  who  were  meeting  with  strong 
opposition.  The  86th  were  to  take  ammunition  to  the 
88th,  and  to  carry  the  line  forward  to  the  spur  north-east 
of  Krithia.  The  Royal  Fusiliers  and  the  Lancashires  were 
to'attack,  the  former  being  on  the  left  of  the  directing 
platoon  of  the  Lancashires.  When  the  latter  at  length 
began  to  advance,  the  2nd  Battalion,  under  Cripps  and 
O'Connell,  conformed,  and  carried  the  line  forward  with 
a  series  of  short,  swift  rushes.  Heavy  fighting  continued 
all  day,  but  the  battalion  dug  in  on  a  line  about  a  mile 
south  of  Krithia.  Cripps  was  wounded,  and  the  strength 
of  the  Fusiliers  ebbed  still  further.  What  appeared  more 
lamentable  was  that  the  farthest  point  reached  could  not 
be  maintained  for  lack  of  support,  and  a  month's  hard 
righting  and  heavy  losses  were  required  to  regain  the 
ground  won  in  this  determined  advance.  The  battalion 
was  in  brigade  reserve  on  the  two  following  days,  resting 
and  reorganising.  Indeed,  some  respite  was  called  for. 
On  leaving  Mex  Camp  they  had  mustered  26  officers  and 
948  other  ranks.  On  April  30th  the  strength  was  12 
officers  and  481  other  ranks. 

On  May  1st,  after  a  quiet  day,  the  battalion  was  called 
upon  for  another  tour  de  force.  At  7.30  p.m.  orders  had 
been  issued  for  the  relief  of  the  86th  Brigade,  but  it  was 
still  in  the  line  when  a  very  heavy  attack  developed  at 
10.30  p.m.  "  The  first  momentum  of  this  ponderous 
onslaught  fell  upon  the  right  of  the  86th  Brigade,  an 
unlucky  spot,  seeing  all  the  officers  thereabouts  had 
already  been  killed  or  wounded."  *  It  was  a  weak  spot 
for  another  reason.  At  this  point  of  the  brigade  front 
the  line  was  cut  by  a  bifurcating  nullah.  The  Turks 
organised  this  first  massed  counter-attack  with  great  skill. 
The  trenches  were  first  heavily  shelled,  and  then,  just 
before  moonrise,  the  first  line  of  the  Turks  hurled  them- 
selves against  the  Allied  positions  with  fixed  bayonets. 
From  prisoners  captured  by  the  Royal  Fusiliers  it  was 

*  Despatch. 


COUNTERATTACK  ON  MAY   ist— 2nd       95 

later  discovered  that  this  attack  was  delivered  by  16,000 
Turks,  with  2,000  in  reserve. 

The  effect  of  this  onslaught  on  the  already  weak 
Munsters  might  have  been  foreseen.  The  heavy  weight 
of  living  bayonets,  bursting  out  of  the  darkness  into  their 
trenches  and  up  the  nullah,  overwhelmed  the  defence. 
Some  of  the  Turks  penetrated  to  the  reserve  trench  held 
by  the  1/5  Scots.*  But  the  position  was  critical,  and 
the  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  were  in  brigade  reserve,  were 
again  called  upon.  Captain  North-Bomford  and  Lieu- 
tenant Jebens  took  up  Z  Company.  The  line  at  this 
moment  was  pierced.  The  Turks  were  massed  in  the 
nullah.  The  Fusiliers  at  once  charged  into  it,  and  though 
North-Bomford  was  wounded,  the  breach  in  the  line  was 
healed.  The  nullah  was  soon  choked  with  dead  and 
dying.  Forty  prisoners  were  sent  back,  and  when 
Y  Company  came  up  the  line  was  restored  on  both  sides 
of  the  nullah.  The  trenches  were  held  all  night  (May  2nd), 
despite  incessant  attacks,  in  which  the  Turks  on  more 
than  one  occasion  fought  their  way  up  to  the  trench 
parapets.  Lieutenant  Anstice.f  who  had  distinguished 
himself  for  his  coolness  and  gallantry  in  carrying  ammu- 
nition to  the  front  line,  was  killed.  Jebens  was  wounded, 
and  Captain  Moore  was  again  hit,  and  had  to  hand  over 
the  command  to  Captain  H.  M.  Hope-Johnstone.  It  was 
immediately  after  discussing  the  position  with  his  new  CO. 
that  Shafto,  one  of  the  most  popular  of  officers,  was  shot 
dead  while  examining  the  front  line  in  the  early  morning. 
The  battalion  had  again  lost  very  heavily,  but  their  inter- 
vention at  a  critical  juncture  had  "  saved  the  situation. "J 

"  All  through  the  operations  the  Royal  Fusiliers 
worked  with  the  smoothest  precision  ;  never  for  a  moment 
did  they  lose  their  high  standard  of  efficiency.  No  task 
was  relinquished  while  it  was  humanly  possible  to  com- 

*  General  Hamilton's  despatch  attributes  to  this  regiment  the  saving 
of  the  situation,  and  does  not  mention  the  Royal  Fusiliers. 
t   He  was  recommended  for  the  Victoria  Cross. 
I  From  a  letter  of  the  Brigade  Major,  May  22nd,  1915. 


96      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

pletc  it.  With  such  men  as  Moore,  Shafto,  and  Hope- 
Johnstone  in  control,  all  officers  inspiring  confidence,  and 
the  disciplined  conduct  of  the  men  showing  their  friendly 
trust  in  them,  there  was  never  a  fear  that  the  reserve 
might  fail  in  stemming  the  assault.  Captain  Moore,  in 
telephonic  communication  throughout  the  night  with  the 
firing  line  and  brigade  headquarters,  gave  accurate  and 
constant  information  of  the  progress  of  the  fight,  and 
acted  on  his  own  initiative  or  carried  out  orders  rapidly 
to  deal  with  every  situation."  * 

There  were  now  only  six  officers  left.  Mundey  became 
Adjutant.  Huggett,  O'Connell,  Hewitt  and  Cooper  were 
the  other  officers  ;  and  there  were  still  425  other  ranks. 
On  the  night  of  the  2nd  the  bulk  of  the  battalion  was 
again  sent  up  in  support.  The  two  following  days  were 
quiet.  On  the  4th  the  86th  Brigade  was  broken  up,  the 
Royal  Fusiliers,  linked  with  the  Hants,  though  as  a 
separate  battalion,  going  to  the  88th  Brigade.  The 
landing  phase  was  over.  In  a  letter  dated  May  22nd, 
1915,  the  Brigade  Major  of  the  86th  Infantry  Brigade 
said,  "  Where  all  have  done  well,  the  Royal  Fusiliers  have 
been  beyond  praise.  With  five  junior  officers  and  under 
400  men,  they  have  never  lost  their  form  for  a  moment. 
Not  only  have  they  always  done  what  might  have  been 
expected  of  them,  but  they  have  risen  to  a  standard  of 
soldiering  which  could  not  be  higher,  and  never  departed 
from  it.  I  am  filled  with  admiration  for  them."  Praise 
could  hardly  be  higher  than  this. 

On  May  6th  began  the  second  battle  of  Krithia.  At 
about  11  a.m.  the  battalion  moved  to  the  extreme  left  of  the 
brigade  front  in  support  of  the  Hampshire  Regiment, 
and  at  12.30  p.m.  Huggett's  company  reinforced  the  Hants' 
left  in  the  advance.  The  Fusiliers'  left  rested  on  the  Saghir 
Dere  (Gully  Ravine),  and  in  about  four  hours'  hard  fighting 
they  had  carried  the  line  forward  several  hundred  yards  ; 
and,  no  further  advance  being  possible,  dug  in  as  fast  as 

*  The  Brigade  Major,  86th  Brigade,  quoted  from  "  With  the  29th 
Division,"  p.  190. 


SECOND  BATTLE  OF  KRITHIA,  MAY  6th— 7TH    97 

possible  under  fire.  So  the  position  stood  that  night,  and 
on  the  following  morning  it  was  found  impossible  to  make 
headway  against  the  Turkish  opposition,  while  the  flanking 
brigade  was  held  up.  The  Essex  who  advanced  through 
the  battalion  at  5  p.m.  were  in  trouble  for  the  same  reason, 
and  during  the  night  the  Fusiliers  had  to  send  up  a  party 
to  fill  the  gap  on  their  left  to  the  nullah.  All  that  day  the 
battalion  had  been  under  very  accurately  aimed  shell  fire, 
and  on  the  8th  they  still  suffered  from  this  unwelcome 
attention.  But  the  second  battle  of  Krithia  died  down 
under  heavy  counter-attacks  and  the  battalion  went  into 
reserve  5  officers  and  384  other  ranks  strong,  after  sixteen 
days  in  the  fire  zone. 

When  the  Fusiliers  went  back  into  the  line  again  on  the 
17th  they  had  the  novel  excitement  of  enfilading  a 
Turkish  trench.  Though  at  some  1,200  yards  distance,  the 
fire  very  efficiently  checked  the  activity  of  enemy  snipers. 
But  this  was  merely  an  interlude.  Saps  were  driven  for- 
ward and  several  attempts  were  made  to  lift  the  batta- 
lion front  with  them.  The  second  was  on  the  22nd,  when 
gallantly  led  by  Moore,  Hope- Johnstone  and  Webb-Bowen, 
the  Fusiliers  captured  a  Turkish  trench  ;  but  a  heavy 
counter-attack  forced  them  to  withdraw  with  40  casualties, 
including  Moore  and  Webb-Bowen.  Both  were  wounded, 
Moore  for  the  third  time.  Maj or  Brandreth  had  by  this  time 
returned  to  the  battalion,  and  there  had  been  no  pause  in 
the  fighting  when  they  were  called  upon  to  take  part  in 
the  third  battle  of  Krithia,  on  June  4th. 

The  Turks  had  now  organised  a  systematic  defence 
across  the  peninsula  and  the  battalion  had  to  advance 
against  a  determined  resistance.  A  small  machine  gun 
redoubt,  lying  about  150  yards  in  front,  was  among  their 
objectives.  Admirably  sited  on  rising  ground  the  position 
was  strong  out  of  all  proportion  to  its  size.  When 
the  advance  began  at  noon  W  Company  (Captain 
Amphlett),  on  the  right,  rushed  this  redoubt,  and  there, 
for  the  first  time,  the  battalion  came  face  to  face  with 
Germans.    The  garrision  was  composed  of  a  machine  gun 

F.  H 


98      ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

crew  from  the  cruiser  Breslau.  "  One  ugly  looking  cus- 
tomer was  captured,  evidently  the  naval  equivalent  of  a 
military  pioneer  sergeant.  He  was  armed  with  a  rifle, 
revolver  and  a  serrated  sword.  The  others  retired  on  the 
arrival  of  our  men,  leaving  four  heavy  naval  machine 
guns,  and  belt  boxes  of  S.A.A.  ...  I  collected  these  guns 
and  sent  them  to  brigade  headquarters  with  labels,  stating 
time  of  capture,  etc.  The  guns  had  evidently  been  taken 
from  the  Breslau,  the  belt  boxes  were  all  marked  S.M.S. 
Breslau."* 

Captain  Amphlett  was  killed  on  this  occasion.  A  police 
magistrate  in  Grenada  at  the  outbreak  of  the  war,  he  was 
one  of  the  new  officers  and  appears  to  have  shown  his 
quality  at  once  and  to  have  died  beloved  by  his 
company. 

The  battalion  swept  past  the  redoubt  and  established 
themselves  in  the  first  objective.  No  further  advance 
could  be  made  as  the  Indians  on  the  left  were  held  up  by 
uncut  wire.  The  brilliant  French  advance  was  followed 
by  a  retirement  which  compelled  the  R.N.D.  to  fall 
back.  The  Manchester  Brigade  of  the  42nd  Division  had 
reached  the  second  objective  ;  and  to  strengthen  their 
position  the  Royal  Fusiliers  on  the  left  advanced  once  more 
under  artillery  support,  and  carried  the  line  well  beyond 
the  first  objective.  This  was  not  an  unmixed  advantage, 
as  the  sequel  showed.  The  new  front  line  was  not  con- 
tinuous, and,  with  the  coastal  sector  at  the  original  posi- 
tion, the  ground  gained  formed  an  irregular  salient  in  the 
Turkish  lines.  Some  80  yards  of  the  Fusiliers'  line  on  the 
left  was  a  Turkish  communication  trench  which  lay  prac- 
tically at  right  angles  to  the  main  line,  and  the  battalion 
on  the  left,  lying  some  distance  ahead,  shared  this  trench. 
After  the  main  attack  on  June  4th  followed  a  quiet  day  ; 


*  Statement  by  R.S.M.  Huband  (June,  192 1).  General  Hamilton's 
despatch  says  "  Goeben."  I  cannot  determine  whether  there  were  two 
similar  incidents,  and  the  brigade  diary  is  missing  for  this  date.  It 
seems  more  probable  that  "  Breslau "  should  be  substituted  for 
"  Goeben." 


THIRD  BATTLE  OF  KRITHIA,  JUNE  4TH— 6th    99 

but  at  dawn  on  the  6th  a  loud  noise  of  bombing  was 
heard  on  the  Fusiliers'  left.  Almost  immediately  after- 
wards a  large  body  of  men  were  seen  retiring ;  but 
instead  of  going  straight  back  they  ran  along  the  parados 
and  rushed  into  the  left  of  the  Fusiliers'  sector.  The 
trenches  were  narrow  and  soon  became  choked.  Brandreth 
seeing  the  possibility  of  panic  spreading,  ran  across  with 
Mundey  and  Sergeant  Marston.  Every  effort  was  made  to 
restore  order,  but  the  vacated  trenches  were  now  occupied 
by  the  Turks.  Very  soon  the  battalion  were  taken  from 
the  left  rear.  Many  men  were  shot  in  the  back.  Only  one 
officer,  Second  Lieutenant  Cooper,  remained.  Word  was 
sent  back  to  the  brigade,  but  the  company  which  was  sent 
up  refused  to  counter-attack  without  information  from  the 
CO.,  who  was  missing.  So  the  battalion  had  to  retire.  In 
the  three  days'  righting  it  had  suffered  very  terribly.  The 
ten  new  officers  were  all  lost,  and  they  included  such  men 
as  the  famous  embryologist  Captain  Jenkinson.  The  loss 
of  Brandreth  was  of  greater  importance  to  the  battalion  ; 
and  Mundey,  who  had  also  fallen,  had  revealed  unexpected 
strength.  When  it  was  relieved,  the  following  day,  it 
marched,  2  officers  and  278  other  ranks  strong,  to  Gully 
Beach. 

Four  company  organisation  was  dropped  and  the  two 
companies  fell  under  the  command  of  Captain  A.  A.  C. 
Taylor,  of  the  Dublins.  While  in  reserve  they  were  joined 
by  Major  Julian  Fisher,  D.S.O.,  who  brought  with  him  a 
draft  of  10  officers  and  400  other  ranks  from  England. 
Captain  P.  N.  Wilson,  who  was  commanding  the  divisional 
cyclists,  was  allowed  to  rejoin  the  battalion,  and  the  unit 
was  given  ten  days  to  reorganise.  The  new  draft  consisted 
of  very  young  men  who  had  not  received  much  training. 
None  of  the  officers  were  Regulars,  but  men  who  had 
gathered  from  the  ends  of  the  earth  to  take  their  part  in 
the  war.  When  the  battalion  went  back  to  the  line  once 
more,  on  June  23rd,  they  mustered  13  officers  and  667 
other  ranks.  Lieutenant  Eustace  commanded  Y  company, 
Captain  Ayrton  X  and  Captain  Gudgeon  Z.    About  three 

■  1 


ioo    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

days  later  Captain  FitzClarence  *  arrived  from  England 
and  took  over  the  duties  of  the  second  in  command. 

On  the  28th  the  battalion  again  attacked,  leading  the 
brigade  with  three  companies  ;  and  their  advance,  though 
successful,  was  dearly  bought.  They  advanced  about 
1,000  yards,  "  a  magnificent  sight,  the  men  never  losing 
their  formation  under  a  heavy  artillery  and  rifle  fire."  f 
The  ground  had  been  carefully  ranged  and  the  bulk  of  the 
casualties  were  due  to  well-placed  shrapnel.  There  were 
few  from  rifle  fire  ;  but  in  attempting  to  round  off  their 
achievement  in  the  night  the  battalion  became  involved 
in  hand-to-hand  fighting.  Few  details  of  these  encounters 
have  been  preserved  ;  but  when  the  Fusiliers  were  relieved 
they  were  in  the  last  stage  of  exhaustion.  A  twenty-four 
hours'  struggle  in  oppressive  heat  with  hardly  any  water 
has  its  unforgettable  terrors.  The  actual  losses  included 
nine  officers :  FitzClarence,  Ayrton,  Andrews  killed ; 
Bulbeck,  Freer  and  Harford  wounded  ;  Gudgeon,  Eustace 
and  Willett  missing.  Of  other  ranks,  27  were  killed, 
175  wounded,  and  57  missing.  Not  one  of  these  officers 
had  been  with  the  battalion  when  it  landed  in  Gallipoli, 
and  the  continuity  was  preserved  by  an  ever-thinning 
thread. 

When  the  battalion  returned  to  the  trenches  on  July  3rd, 
Major  Cripps  had  rejoined  and  taken  over  the  duties  of 
adjutant  ;  and  in  this  tour  the  9  officers  and  409  other 
ranks  had  companies  of  newly  arrived  troops  attached  for 
instructional  purposes.  On  the  15th  the  Fusiliers  pro- 
ceeded to  "  V  "  beach  and  embarked  for  Lemnos.  The 
next  day  was  spent  in  bivouacs  about  a  mile  from  Mudros, 
the  first  day  since  April  25th  that  the  2nd  Battalion  had 
not  been  under  rifle  or  shell  fire.  There  they  were  rejoined 
by  Major  Guy  on  who  took  over  the  command  from  Major 

*  Captain  A.  A.  C.  FitzClarence  was  the  sixth  of  his  family  to  serve 
in  the  regiment.  He  was  a  cousin  of  Brig. -General  FitzClarence,  V.C., 
also  a  Royal  Fusilier,  who  initiated  the  counter-attack  which  restored 
the  line  at  Ypres  on  October  31st,  1914. 

f  Mr.  Ashmead  Bartlett  in  The  Times,  July  9th,  1915. 


KRITHIA  VINEYARD,   AUGUST  6th        ioi 

Fisher.  Drafts  were  received  from  the  3rd,*  5th  and 
7th  Battalions  and  the  unit  was  able  to  return  to  three 
company  strength  once  more. 

The  battles  of  Suvla  saw  them  in  Gallipoli  again.  The 
trenches  were  practically  the  same  as  those  occupied 
before  the  rest  in  Lemnos.  Indeed,  one  of  the  terrible 
characteristics  of  the  whole  of  this  campaign  was  the 
impression  of  always  advancing  at  great  cost  and  never 
changing  the  position.  The  actions  of  Krithia  Vineyard, 
which  were  subsidiary  to  the  battles  of  Suvla,  saw  the 
battalion  bringing  in  the  wounded  of  the  88th  Brigade. 
They  had  moved  to  the  reserve  trench  before  the  opening 
of  the  battle,  and  as  the  88th  Brigade  left  the  trenches 
early  in  the  morning  of  August  6th,  they  took  them  over. 
Well-directed  and  sustained,  the  Turkish  counter-bom- 
bardment exacted  a  heavy  toll.  The  firing  line  was  found 
to  be  full  of  dead  and  wounded,  belonging  to  different 
units.  Z  Company,  on  the  left,  also  suffered  severely. 
Some  relief  was  afforded  by  the  luck  of  a  machine  gun. 
Mounted  in  a  communication  trench,  this  gun,  at  a  range 
of  850  yards,  enfiladed  a  trench  near  the  vineyard  and 
wiped  off  some  of  the  score. 

Suvla. — On  the  16th  the  battalion  relieved  the  Border 
Regiment  who  were  holding  the  extreme  left  of  the  line  to 
the  sea.  W  Company  lay  on  the  cliff  side  as  it  rose  from  the 
sea.  The  line  occupied  by  Z  ran  almost  at  right  angles  to 
this  position,  turning  back  roughly  parallel  to  the  sea.  It 
was  not  a  sector  that  one  would  naturally  choose.  The 
Turkish  snipers  were  in  the  ascendant.  The  steel  loop- 
holes were  being  shot  away  and  periscopes  could  not  be 
raised  for  more  than  a  second  or  two.  From  the  Turkish 
trenches  which,  in  places,  were  only  15  yards  distant, 
bombs  were  being  continually  thrown  into  the  British 
lines.  The  conditions,  in  fine,  were  intolerable,  and 
arrangements  were  made  to  relieve  them.  An  intensive 
treatment  with  jam-tin  bombs  and  trench  mortars  some- 
what chastened  the  Turkish  bomb  throwers,  and  a  minor 

*  Men  who  had  suffered  from  trench  feet  in  France. 


102     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

attack  was  planned  for  the  20th.  But  it  was  never  to 
take  place.  On  the  19th  the  battalion  were  relieved. 
They  embarked  from  "  W  "  beach  at  7  p.m.  on  the 
following  day,  and  at  midnight  they  disembarked  at  "  C  " 
beach,  Suvla.  Packs  were  dumped  and  the  battalion 
marched  to  Chocolate  Hill,  arriving  there  at  dawn  on 
August  2 1  st. 

Their  role  was  to  assist  in  redeeming  the  past.  On  how- 
many  occasions  during  the  war  were  the  Royal  Fusiliers 
faced  with  a  similar  task  ?  A  single  battalion,  6th  E. 
Yorks.  Pioneers  had  occupied  Scimitar  Hill  on  Sunday, 
August  8th,  and  had  been  withdrawn,  apparently  by  an 
oversight.  Its  value,  recognised  later,  led  to  the  plan  in 
which  the  2nd  Battalion  were  to  play  their  part.  The 
key  to  "  W  "  hill  and  Anafarta  Sagir,  its  possession  was 
necessary  if  a  further  advance  were  to  be  made  ;  and, 
untaken,  even  the  security  of  the  main  Suvla  landing  was 
prejudiced.  Scimitar  Hill  was  to  be  taken  by  the  con- 
verging attack  of  the  87th  and  S6th  Brigades,  the  86th 
advancing  from  the  right.  The  Royal  Fusiliers  in  brigade 
reserve,  were  behind  Chocolate  Hill,  their  position  being 
connected  with  that  of  the  Munsters  and  Lancashires  by  a 
narrow  communication  trench.  At  2.30  p.m.  (August 
2 1st)  the  bombardment  began.  A  quarter  of  an  hour 
later,  the  men  began  to  file  down  the  communication 
trench  in  order  to  be  ready  to  take  up  the  position  ahead 
as  soon  as  it  was  vacated  by  the  Munsters  and  Lancashires. 
At  3.30  these  troops  went  forward  ;  but  the  brigades  on 
the  right  had  lost  direction  in  front  and  little  headway 
could  be  made.  While  filing  down  the  trench  the  Royal 
Fusiliers  came  under  a  heavy  enfilade  fire  from  shrapnel. 
It  became  blocked  with  dead  and  wounded,  and  to  add 
to  the  horror  of  the  moment,  the  thick  bush  on  both  sides 
was  kindled  by  the  shell  fire.  Such  facts  beggar 
description. 

At  6  p.m.,  a  patrol  under  Captain  Bruce  found  that 
the  battalion  was  not  linked  up  with  the  yeomanry  on  the 
right.     And  during  the  night   150   men,   under  Captain 


SUVLA,   AUGUST— SEPTEMBER  103 

Stevenson,  began  to  dig  a  connecting  trench  in  the  open. 
But  slow  progress  was  made,  and  the  men  were  picked 
off  all  too  easily.  During  the  day  it  was  realised  that  the 
advance  had  fizzled  out,  and  at  6  p.m.  the  battalion  moved 
back  behind  Chocolate  Hill,  in  order  to  take  over  trenches 
on  the  left  of  the  87th  Brigade. 

During  the  night  of  the  22nd  the  battalion  took  over 
the  fire  trench  from  the  6th  Royal  Welch  Fusiliers.  The 
position  was  beginning  to  harden  in  this  part  of  the 
peninsula.  The  fine  hope  that  sped  the  Suvla  battles 
had  faded  away,  and  it  became  necessary  to  secure  a  real 
grip  on  the  ground  already  won.  Consolidation  was 
pressed  on,  and  trenches  were  dug  to  connect  up  with 
the  88th  Brigade  on  the  left.  The  position  was  exposed, 
life  unusually  precarious  even  for  the  peninsula.  All 
rations  had  to  be  brought  up  by  night.  But  the  Fusiliers 
concentrated  on  their  work,  and  the  trenches  and  the  whole 
position  were  improved  and  strengthened.  A  large  draft 
brought  the  strength  of  the  battalion  to  16  officers  and 
1,015  other  ranks,  higher  than  it  had  ever  been  in  Gallipoli, 
and  150  yards  of  the  Dublins'  line  was  taken  over. 

On  relief,  the  battalion,  after  a  week  spent  in  dug-outs, 
embarked  for  Imbros  on  September  8th.  It  was  their 
first  rest  for  six  weeks,  almost  all  of  which  had  been  spent 
in  the  front  trench  under  constant  rifle  and  shell  fire. 
That  week  over  200  men  were  down  with  diarrhoea,  and 
another  of  the  perils  of  the  peninsula  began  to  be  experi- 
enced. The  casualties  up  to  this  time  (September  14th) 
were  as  follows  : — 


Other 

Officers. 

Ranks. 

Dead   . 

.      19 

260 

Wounded 

.      40 

914 

Sick     . 

.      24 

376 

Missing 

•      7 

96 

90         1,646 

With  so  terrible  a  disproportion  in  officer  casualties 


104     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

it  was  obvious  that  there  would  be  a  shortage  ;  and  this 
was  a  characteristic  of  all  the  British  units  in  Gallipoli. 
Of  all  the  original  officers  of  the  battalion  not  one  had  been 
able  to  see  the  campaign  through,  and  only  166  other 
ranks  had  escaped  wounds.  Two  officers,  Guyon  and 
Cripps,  and  about  ioo  other  ranks  had  returned  from 
hospital. 

On  September  21st  the  battalion  embarked  in  such 
rough  weather  that  it  was  with  the  greatest  difficulty 
the  men  could  be  transferred  from  lighters  to  the  ship. 
But  at  length  this  was  achieved  without  mishap,  and  the 
troops  returned  to  Suvla,  where  they  relieved  the  S.W. 
Borderers  in  the  firing  line.  During  this  tour  of  the  front 
trenches  parties  of  the  2/3  London  Regiment,  who  had 
only  recently  landed  in  Gallipoli,  were  attached  for 
instructional  purposes.  It  was  a  strange  chance  that 
cast  these  two  battalions  of  the  regiment  together.  The 
2/3  Londons  had  replaced  the  1/3  in  the  Malta 
garrison,  and  then,  in  April,  1915,  had  left  for  Khartum. 
Detachments  were  also  stationed  at  Atbara  and  Suikat. 
In  Gallipoli  they  reinforced  the  86th  Brigade,  and  took 
part  in  various  minor  engagements. 

The  last  days  of  September  saw  almost  perfect  weather. 
The  days  were  warm  and  sunny,  the  nights  cool.  It 
seemed  as  if  the  terrible  peninsula,  which  was  yet  to  show 
its  worst,  was,  for  the  moment,  determined  to  exhibit  its 
best.  Under  such  conditions  labour  seemed  no  great 
hardship,  and  the  men  settled  down  to  the  never-ceasing 
task  of  improving  the  trenches.  In  early  October  they 
took  over  a  new  stretch  of  fire  line  from  the  Munsters  and 
a  company  of  the  Dublins,  and  at  once  set  to  work  like 
ants  on  improving  these  positions.  A  new  fire  trench 
was  constructed,  and  a  communication  trench  to  it.  In 
the  latter  task  Second  Lieutenant  Jepson  was  killed 
(October  16th)  and  Lieutenant  Fletcher  was  wounded. 
But  the  battalion  here,  as  everywhere,  seemed  imbued 
with  a  divine  discontent.  The  perfect  alignment  required 
the  assimilation  of  some  elements  of  the  Turkish  system, 


SUVLA,   OCTOBER— NOVEMBER  105 

and  so  three  night  attacks  were  made,  the  last  on  October 
22nd.  These  operations  won  the  congratulations  of  the 
corps  commander. 

On  October  18th  the  2/4  Battalion  London  Regiment 
landed  at  Cape  Helles.  They  had  left  Malta  in  August 
for  Egypt,  and  had  been  two  months  in  camp  at  Alex- 
andria. During  their  service  in  Gallipoli  they  were 
attached  to  the  Royal  Naval  Division,  and  took  part  in 
the  trench  warfare  until  the  evacuation. 

It  was  in  the  latter  part  of  October  that  Guyon,  com- 
manding the  2nd  Battalion,  fell  ill  with  appendicitis, 
and  for  a  week  he  lay  in  his  dug-out  before  it  was 
possible  to  remove  him  to  hospital.  It  was  at  this 
time,  too,  that  the  pace  of  the  operations  on  the 
peninsula  settled  down  as  though  for  an  indefinitely  long 
tenure.  From  the  view-point  of  the  2nd  Battalion  this 
period  was  marked  by  ingenuity  and  daring  initiative. 
On  November  2nd  a  small  body  attempted  to  pull  away 
the  Turkish  wire  en  bloc  with  ropes.  Unfortunately,  the 
atmosphere  had  sapped  the  fibre  of  the  ropes,  and  the 
exploit  proved  more  ingenious  than  serviceable.  Turkish 
sniping  posts  received  one  or  two  unwelcome  visits  from 
bombing  parties.  There  were  several  good  reconnaissance 
patrols.  But,  despite  all  attentions,  the  Turkish  snipers 
proved  a  pest  to  the  end,  and  on  November  12th  Second 
Lieutenant  E.  J.  Haywood,  the  acting  brigade  machine 
gun  officer,  was  killed  while  visiting  a  machine  gun  post. 

Lord  Kitchener  had  visited  Gallipoli  and  passed  through 
Greece  on  his  way  home  again  when  the  worst  calamity 
befell  the  batallion.  November  26th  dawned  fine,  and 
so  continued  until  about  5  p.m.,  when  it  began  to  rain. 
Almost  at  once  it  became  a  characteristic  tropical  down- 
pour. In  an  hour  there  was  a  foot  of  water  in  the  trenches. 
From  the  hills  where  the  Turks  lay  a  tremendous  flood 
of  water  swept  towards  the  Fusiliers'  position.*  The 
barriers  reared  so  painfully  against  the  Turks  were  swept 

*  "  The  Royal  Fusiliers  suffered  much  more  than  any  other  regi- 
ment "  ("  The  Dardanelles  Campaign,"  Nevinson,  p.  384). 


106     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

away  in  a  flash.  In  a  few  minutes  the  face  of  the  country 
had  changed.  Into  the  trenches  swept  a  pony,  a  mule, 
and  three  dead  Turks.  Several  men  were  drowned.  The 
whole  area  became  a  lake.  The  communication  trenches 
were  a  swirl  of  muddy  water.  All  that  could  be  seen  was 
an  occasional  tree  and  a  muddy  bank  where  the  parados 
had  been  particularly  high.  The  bulk  of  the  battalion 
had  scrambled  out  of  the  trenches,  and  stood  about  on 
the  spots  which  remained  above  water,  soaked  to  the  skin, 
and  at  least  half  of  them  without  overcoats  or  even  rifles. 
The  moon  lit  up  these  small  knots  of  shivering  men  on 
little  banks  of  mud  in  a  waste  of  water.  Not  a  shot  was 
fired  on  either  side.  The  common  calamity  had  enforced 
an  efficient  truce. 

Orders  came  by  telephone  that  the  battalion  was  to  hold 
on  to  the  line  at  all  costs.  Meanwhile  two  orderlies, 
Frost  and  James,  had  been  sent  to  brigade  headquarters, 
and  had  been  compelled  to  swim  most  of  the  way.  About 
10  p.m.  the  water  subsided  slightly,  and  the  men  threw 
up  rough  breastworks  of  mud.  There  they  lay  huddled 
together  in  extreme  discomfort,  cut  through  by  a  piercing 
wind.  The  next  day  the  trenches  were  still  from  4  to  5  feet 
deep,  and  the  men  were  forced  to  keep  to  them.  The  truce 
had  ended  as  strangely  as  it  had  begun,  and  any  one  show- 
ing above  the  trenches  was  liable  to  meet  the  familiar  fate . 
Captain  Shaw  was  shot  dead,  Lieutenant  Ormesher  was 
mortally  wounded  ;  and  with  such  object  lessons  the 
bitter  discomforts  of  the  trenches  were  made  to  seem  pre- 
ferable. In  the  afternoon  the  wind  rose  again.  It  became 
intensely  cold.  A  blizzard  swept  the  country.  Men  were 
sent  back  to  hospital ;  but  some  of  them  died  on  the  way, 
from  exposure  and  exhaustion.  Two  of  them,  belonging 
to  W  Company,  who  shared  this  fate,  had  struggled  on 
until  they  found  some  sort  of  shelter  near  the  Salt  Lake. 
There  they  had  paused  to  rest.  The  younger  of  the  two 
could  probably  have  got  back  to  camp  alone,  but  he  would 
not  leave  his  comrade  in  the  storm  and  darkness  and  snow. 
The  next  morning  they  were  found  together — frozen  stiff. 


SUVLA,  THE  GREAT  FLOOD      107 

The  younger,  his  arms  round  his  companion,  held  a  piece  of 
broken  biscuit  in  each  frozen  hand,  and  there  were  biscuit 
crumbs  frozen  into  the  moustache  of  the  elder  man. 

Under  such  conditions  the  tacit  truce  was  renewed. 
Rum  and  whisky  were  brought  up  to  the  trenches  ;  but 
with  the  utmost  difficulty. 

At  midnight  on  the  27th,  the  wind  was  colder,  the  snow 
thicker.  About  4  a.m.  (November  28th)  the  commanding 
officer  and  the  adjutant  were  the  only  survivors  in  the 
reserve  line  ;  and  it  was  clear  that  even  superhuman 
endurance  had  limits.  Permission  was  obtained  to  bring 
the  battalion  back  to  the  brigade  nullah,  where  the  ground 
was  higher  and  more  sheltered.  There  were  only  about 
300  left  in  the  firing  line,  and  they  were  got  back  with 
great  difficulty.  Hardly  a  man  could  walk  normally. 
The  trench  was  crossed  by  a  single  plank.  A  few  of  the 
men  were  shot  as  they  staggered  across.  Some  failed  to 
get  back  at  all.  Others  were  kicked  along  with  merciful 
brutality,  or  they  would  have  given  up  the  struggle.  There 
are  few  pictures  in  military  history  which  equal  in  poign- 
ancy that  of  this  little  band  who,  having  faced  what  was 
almost  beyond  the  power  of  men,  struggled  back  to  life 
from  the  very  gates  of  death. 

By  7  a.m.  the  battalion  had  arrived  at  the  nullah,  where 
they  were  given  warm  food  and  put  into  blankets.  The 
majority  were  taken  to  hospital  during  the  day  suffering 
either  from  exposure  or  frost-bite.  The  strength  of  the 
battalion  was  now  11  officers  and  105  other  ranks.  A 
party  of  men,  under  Second  Lieutenant  Camies,  were  sent 
back  to  the  Dublin  Castle  post  to  hold  on  to  next  evening. 
On  the  29th  it  froze  hard,  and  after  midnight  it  was  found 
that  the  party  from  another  regiment  who  were  to  have 
relieved  Second  Lieutenant  Camies,  had  lost  their  way. 
At  4  a.m.  (November  30th)  Camies  and  his  men  were  found 
still  at  their  posts,  but  in  an  almost  helpless  condition. 
Sergt. -Major  Paschall  was  sent  to  take  out  the  relieving 
party  and  bring  back  Camies.  The  outpost  on  return  all 
went  to  hospital,  and  at  4  p.m.  roll  call  showed  only  10 


108    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

officers  and  84  other  ranks  (70  effective)  remaining.  The 
storm  had  wrought  a  greater  havoc  than  any  battle.* 

On  December  2nd  the  draining  of  the  reserve  trench  was 
begun,  and  on  December  3rd  the  weather  became  a  little 
warmer.  Some  drafts  arrived.,  and  the  battalion,  organised 
in  two  companies,  began  to  hold  the  Dublin  Castle  position 
by  companies,  forty-eight  hours  at  a  time.  On  the  13th 
the  line  was  handed  over  to  the  88th  Brigade,  and  on  the 
following  day  the  battalion  embarked  for  Mudros,  and  after 
a  day's  rest  proceeded  once  more  to  Helles.  Here  the  time 
was  spent  in  training  and  fatigues  until  December  31st, 
when  the  news  of  the  approaching  evacuation  was  received. 
A  line  of  defences  was  at  once  mapped  out,  and  work 
begun  on  them.  At  10  p.m.  on  January  2nd  the  two 
companies  embarked  on  a  trawler  from  "  W  "  beach.  A 
few  hours  earlier  the  beach  was  being  shelled,  but  the 
actual  embarkation  was  uneventful.  The  next  day  the 
battalion  was  transhipped  to  S.S.  Caledonia  on  arrival  at 
Mudros,  and  the  course  was  set  for  Alexandria.  On 
January  8th  they  arrived  at  Alexandria  and  entrained  for 
Suez. 

It  was  little  more  than  a  year  since  the  battalion,  a 
splendid  fighting  unit,  had  reached  this  very  place, 
travelling  in  the  opposite  direction.  The  intervening 
period  enshrined  one  of  the  most  terrible  experiences  any 
soldiers  were  called  upon  to  suffer.  But  the  2nd  Battalion 
can  look  back  with  pride  on  this  campaign  in  Gallipoli. 
In  attack,  in  defence,  in  endurance  they  were,  as  a  close 
observer  said  more  than  once,  "  beyond  praise."  j 

*  The  2/3  Londons  also  suffered  very  terribly  in  this  storm,  being 
reduced  to  4  officers  and  60  men. 

f  Brigade  Major,  86th  Brigade.     See  p.  96. 


CHAPTER  VII 

THE   BATTLE   OF    THE   SOMME 

By  a  strange  coincidence  the  2nd  Battalion  made  its 
second  debut  in  major  operations  in  another  attempt  to 
achieve  the  impossible.  On  this  occasion  it  took  part  with 
the  29th  Division  in  the  holding  attack,  north  of  the  Ancre, 
which  was  launched  simultaneously  with  the  opening  of 
the  Somme  battle  on  July  1st,  1916. 

At  the  battle  of  Loos  the  role  of  the  British  Army  had 
been  subsidiary  to  that  of  the  French.  Neither  men  nor 
material  justified  the  hope  of  the  army  playing  a  part  of 
decisive  importance.  But  at  the  battle  of  the  Somme 
there  were  ample  numbers  ;  and  the  army  had  increased 
until,  on  the  Western  Front,  it  commanded  660,000 
bayonets  and  sabres.  And  the  atmosphere  in  which  the 
battle  was  launched  was  completely  changed.  Loos  was 
fought  when  the  Russian  Army  appeared  to  be  at  its  last 
gasp.  Russia  had  already  won  a  striking  victory  when 
the  battle  of  the  Somme  began  ;  Italy  had  recovered  from 
the  Austrian  attack  in  the  Trentino,  and  France  had 
weathered  the  attack  at  Verdun,  though  with  heavy  loss. 
The  expansion  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  was  symptomatic  of 
the  change  in  the  equilibrium  on  the  west.  There  were 
now  twenty-one  battalions  in  France,  in  addition  to 
battalions  in  the  Balkans  and  in  Africa. 

Beaumont  Hamel. — From  first  to  last  no  fewer  than 
twenty  battalions  of  Royal  Fusiliers  were  engaged  in  the 
battle  of  the  Somme.  But  no  other  Fusilier  unit  fought 
so  unsatisfying  an  action  with  such  heavy  loss  as  did  the 
2nd  Battalion.  Its  role  was  to  hold  the  German  reserves 
and  occupy  his  artillery  in  order  to  assist  the  main  attack 
south  of  the  Ancre.    But,  as  ill-fortune  would  have  it,  the 


no     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

enemy  had  expected  the  main  attack  on  the  front  allocated 
to  holding  and  subsidiary  attacks,  and  the  units  engaged 
there  suffered  accordingly. 

The  preparations  for  the  opening  of  the  first  great  British 
attack  in  France  had  been  very  elaborate,  and  on  the  front 
of  the  division,  north  of  the  29th,  they  included  the  driving 
of  an  enormous  mine  towards  the  Hawthorne  Redoubt. 
The  explosion  of  this  mine  was  to  launch  the  battalion's 
attack  and  provide  its  first  objective.  The  Fusiliers  lay 
just  north  of  the  Ancre,  below  Beaumont  Hamel,  which 
nature  and  artifice  had  turned  into  a  very  formidable 
fortress.  The  troops  were  in  position  at  5.15  a.m.,  and 
the  bombardment  became  terrific.  Shortly  afterwards 
a  smoke  barrage  was  put  down,  and  then  at  7.20  a.m.  the 
mine  was  exploded,  filling  the  air  with  a  cloud  of  debris. 
At  once  D  Company  rushed  forward  with  machine  guns 
to  occupy  the  crater,  but  they  were  met  by  a  heavy 
German  barrage  and  machine  gun  fire.  Five  minutes  later 
was  zero  hour,  and  the  whole  line  advanced. 

Upon  the  battalion  front  the  attack  never  had  any 
chance  of  success.  When  D  Company  reached  the  mine 
crater  they  were  only  able  to  occupy  the  nearer  lip  as  the 
other  side  was  already  held  by  the  Germans.  No  advance 
could  be  made  there,  and,  on  the  rest  of  the  front  few  of  the 
men  reached  the  enemy's  wire.  The  British  barrage  was 
persistent  in  its  attentions  to  the  second  and  third  lines 
of  the  German  first  defensive  system,  with  the  consequence 
that  the  battle  was  restricted  to  the  first  line  where,  armed 
with  an  ample  supply  of  machine  guns,  the  enemy  was 
able  to  crush  every  attempt  to  rush  it.  At  mid-day  the 
few  men  remaining  in  No  Man's  Land  had  to  give  up  the 
futile  attempt  and  retire.  The  losses  of  the  battalion  had 
been  very  terrible.  Major  Cripps  who  had  been  ordered 
to  brigade  headquarters  to  be  brigade  major,  was 
seriously  wounded  within  two  hours.  Lieut. -Colonel  A.  V. 
Johnson  was  buried  and  wounded  in  the  front  line  trench 
by  a  shell  from  one  of  our  own  batteries.  He  attempted 
to  carry  on,  but  was  clearly  unfit  to  do  so  and  was  evacuated. 


Major-General   Sir  W.    B.    Hickie,    K.C.B.,  who    commanded 
the   i6th  Division  from  December,  1915,  until  it  was  broken 

up  in   April,    1918. 


BEAUMONT-HAMEL,   JULY   1ST,   1916       in 

Captain  Goodliffe,  who  was  to  have  occupied  the 
German  front  line  when  captured,  examined  the  wounded 
in  order  to  gain  information.  One  poor  fellow,  whose 
jaw  was  shattered,  could  only  mumble,  but  he  insisted 
on  telling  his  story.  A  guess  was  made  at  his  meaning, 
"  We  are  doing  no  good  on  the  right."  When  this  was 
repeated  to  him,  he  nodded  and  smiled,  and  went  off  to  the 
dressing-station.  Such  was  the  spirit  of  the  men  in  one 
of  the  worst  experiences  of  the  war. 

The  total  casualties  for  the  day  amounted  to  490, 
including  20  officers,  three  of  them  killed.  This  was  in 
addition  to  the  eight  officers  who  became  casualties  during 
the  preliminary  bombardment.  Lieut. -Colonel  G.  S. 
Guyon  was  killed  while  gallantly  leading  the  16th  Battalion 
West  Yorks.  The  battalion  had  suffered,  in  fact,  worse 
than  in  the  landing  in  Gallipoli,  and  drastic  reorganisation 
was  necessary.  Captain  Swifte  assumed  command  with 
Captain  Goodliffe  as  second  and  Lieutenant  P.  T.  0.  Boult 
as  Adjutant. 

Dearden  and  Baldwin  alone  of  the  officers  who  went  over 
the  top  did  not  become  causalties  and  the  former  had  his 
steel  helmet  dented  by  a  shell.  For  forty-eight  hours  the 
wounded  dribbled  in,  some  of  them  mad.  The  Germans 
left  their  trenches  under  a  Red  Cross  flag  and  collected 
some  of  the  wounded.  They  also  removed  Lewis  guns  on 
stretchers,  a  slight  blot  on  otherwise  unexceptional 
behaviour  ! 

On  July  2nd  the  artillery  was  extremely  active  on  both 
sides  and  the  day  was  given  over  to  the  salvage  of  dead 
and  wounded.  On  the  4th  the  2nd  Battalion  were  relieved 
by  two  battalions  of  the  4th  Division,  and  later  in  the 
month  they  passed  from  the  Somme  area. 

Gommecourt. — Farther  north,  the  2nd,  3rd  and  4th 
Londons  had  been  involved  in  the  subsidiary  attack  south 
of  the  Gommecourt  salient,  the  1st  being  in  divisional 
reserve.  The  2nd  Londons  lay  in  the  front  line  until 
1.30  p.m.,  when  D  Company  were  ordered  up  to  the 
first  German   line    (Ferret  Trench) ;   but  Lieutenant   H. 


112     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

W.  Everitt  and  several  men  were  hit  as  they  left  the 
trenches  and  the  company  made  three  unsuccessful 
attempts  to  cross  the  open  in  the  face  of  the  artillery  and 
machine  gun  fire.  A  little  later  A  and  C  Companies  were 
directed  to  make  good  the  German  front  line  on  the  left 
and  right  of  Ferret  Trench  and  to  recover  parts  of  the 
trenches  beyond.  C,  on  the  left,  was  held  up  before  the 
German  wire.  Captain  Handyside  was  wounded  about 
15  yards  from  the  front  line  but  crawled  forward  encourag- 
ing his  men  until  killed  by  a  shell.  After  dark  about  fifty 
of  the  men,  including  many  wounded,  crawled  back. 
A  Company  fared  similarly,  losing  all  its  officers  and  all 
but  35  men  ;  and  at  3.15  p.m.  the  battalion  were  ordered 
to  cease  the  attempt  to  reinforce  and  to  hold  the  old  front 
line.  Soon  after  noon  the  Germans  showed  a  white  flag 
in  Ferret  trench  and  an  informal  truce  took  place  for  about 
an  hour  for  the  collection  of  wounded.  Ten  minutes 
before  the  end  of  the  truce  the  Germans  gave  warning  by 
firing  shells  over  the  men.  Some  of  the  wounded  stated 
that  the  Germans  had  given  them  coffee  during  the  night. 
On  July  3rd  the  battalion  received  the  congratulations 
of  the  divisional  general  on  their  gallantry.  Indeed, 
there  was  no  lack  of  courage  and  the  2nd  Londons  lost 
12  officers,  including  Captains  Handyside  and  Garland 
killed,  and  241  other  ranks. 

The  role  of  the  3rd  Londons  was  to  dig  a  communication 
trench  from  "  Z"  hedge  to  the  junction  of  Fir  and  Firm 
Trenches — on  the  left  of  the  point  which  C  Company  of  the 
3rd  Londons  attacked  ;  but  when  this  was  begun  at 
10.10  a.m.,  the  German  barrage  was  so  heavy  that  the  task 
had  to  be  abandoned.  "  Z"  hedge,  occupied  by  Second 
Lieutenant  Johnson  and  No.  15  Platoon  was  so  heavily 
shelled  that  at  1.15  p.m.  only  Johnson  and  one  man  were 
left.     The  battalion  lost  3  officers  and  120  other  ranks. 

The  4th  Londons  supported  the  attack  on  the  right  of 
the  3rd,  and  they  also  came  under  so  heavy  a  fire  that  any 
considerable  or  lasting  success  was  impossible.  At 
8.45  a.m.  two  companies  were  ordered  to  support  the 


THE    TERRITORIALS    AT    GOMMECOURT    113 

Rangers  in  the  German  front  trench  (Fetter) ;  but,  although 
six  runners  were  despatched  with  the  message  by  different 
routes  and  two  others  after  an  interval  of  fifteen  minutes, 
only  one  returned,  having  failed  to  locate  the  left  company. 
The  others  were  all  killed.  A  Company,  very  gallantly 
led  by  Captain  A.  R.  Moore,  went  forward  and  pushed  up 
to  the  second  German  line,  but  at  that  point  all  the  officers 
had  become  casualties  and  all  but  18  men.  The  two 
platoons  of  C  Company  who  went  forward  suffered  little 
more  than  the  two  who  had  not  received  the  order,  owing 
to  the  front  line  trench  being  destroyed  by  the  German 
barrage.  The  company  lost  all  their  officers  and  were 
brought  out  of  action  by  C.S.M.  Davis.  B  Company, 
whose  role  was  to  "  clear  up,"  lost  very  terribly,  and  only 
about  10  men  got  back  from  the  German  line.  The 
battalion  had  23  officers  and  700  other  ranks,  head- 
quarters and  firing  line  on  going  into  action,  but  only 
7  officers  and  356  other  ranks  answered  the  roll  call  that 
night.  But  they  had  shown  a  fine  courage  and  discipline, 
and,  in  the  end,  the  function  of  the  56th  Division  had  been 
fulfilled. 

Montauban. — The  nth  Royal  Fusiliers  took  part 
in  the  attack  of  the  18th  Division  towards  Montauban. 
It  was  their  first  battle  and  they  engaged  in  it  with 
peculiar  zest.  They  had  already  tested  the  effect  of  our 
bombardment  in  a  raid  on  June  27th/28th,  in  which 
Second  Lieutenant  W.  R.  Havard  gained  the  M.C.  ;  and 
by  2  a.m.  on  July  1st  they  were  in  battle  positions,  as  the 
left  assaulting  battalion  of  the  brigade.  About  4.30  a.m. 
tea  was  sent  up  and  was  warmly  appreciated,  for  a  fine 
rain  was  falling  and  the  men  were  thoroughly  chilled. 
About  7  a.m.  a  thick  mist  shrouded  the  foreground  ;  but 
before  7.30  it  had  cleared  and  the  men  went  over  the  top 
"  like  bloodhounds  let  loose  from  the  leash."  The 
German  trenches  had  been  so  battered  that  it  was  only 
with  the  utmost  difficulty  the  men  carried  out  the  pre- 
arranged plan.  The  Fusiliers  ran  through  the  German 
barrage  and  went  across  their  front  line  in  great  style. 


ii4     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

An  attempt  to  check  the  advance  from  Austrian  Support 
was  dealt  with,  one  of  the  machine  guns  being  rushed  by 
Lance-Corporal  A.  Payne.  Between  Bund  Trench  and 
Pommiers  Trench,  a  space  of  some  500  yards,  uncut  wire 
was  encountered  by  the  battalion  on  the  right  of  the 
Fusiliers,  and  the  consequent  check  was  seized  upon  by 
the  Germans  in  Mametz  to  strike  against  the  battalion's 
left  flank.  Second  Lieutenant  Parr-Dudley  turned  his 
platoon  half-left  and,  with  a  vigorous  charge,  accounted 
for  the  small  enemy  party,  but  lost  his  life  in  the  action. 

A  small  party  bombed  up  Black  Alley,  leading  to 
Pommiers  Trench.  Private  W.  T.  Taverner,  locating  a 
machine  gun  in  the  latter  trench,  and  unable  to  get  at  the 
gunner,  won  a  M.M.  by  standing  on  top  of  the  emplace- 
ment and  directing  the  waves  right  and  left.  Private 
J.  Nicholson  shot  six  German  snipers  and  then  knocked 
out  a  machine  gun.  And  so  by  numerous  acts  of  indivi- 
dual bravery  and  initiative  Pommiers  Trench  was  won, 
the  Fusiliers  securing  a  machine  gun.  There  was  then  a 
pause  and  a  Fusilier  officer  noted  that  "  the  men  were  by 
this  time  quite  cool  and  collected,  and  apparently  very 
happy.  Several  of  them  were  holding  miniature  sing- 
songs, whilst  others  were  energetically  shaking  hands  and 
wishing  their  officers  good  luck." 

Pommiers  Redoubt  had  still  to  be  taken,  and  this  was 
the  worst  stage  of  the  day's  fighting.  Captain  Johnson 
was  held  in  Black  Alley  by  a  machine  gun,  and  could  not 
approach  that  way.  He  then  attempted  to  take  the 
redoubt  from  the  rear.  Second  Lieutenant  Savage 
accounted  for  the  snipers  in  Beetle  Alley,  on  the  north- 
west, and  Johnson  was  able  to  bring  his  machine  guns  up 
to  enfilade  the  front  of  the  redoubt.  With  this  assistance 
the  Bedfordshires  were  able  to  advance  frontally,  and  the 
obstacle  was  won  at  9.30  a.m.  Beetle  Alley  was  rushed 
shortly  afterwards,  but  an  hour's  delay  was  experienced 
here,  as  the  flanking  battalions  were  not  up.  At  length 
the  advance  was  resumed,  and  in  the  afternoon  the 
Fusiliers  were  1,000  yards  still  farther  ahead,  in  White 


MONTAUBAN  AND   LA  BOISSELLE        115 

Trench,  below  Mametz  Wood.  A  line  of  strong  points 
was  begun  later  in  the  day.  "  It  was  very  hard  for  the 
diggers,  but  it  was  really  pitiful  to  see  the  others.  Every- 
body was  tired  out,  and  I  had  to  keep  on  constantly 
waking  the  men  up,  for  as  soon  as  they  touched  the 
ground  they  automatically  succumbed  into  deep  sleep. 
It  is  not  altogether  fun  being  so  tired  as  we  all  were  in  the 
face  of  the  enemy."  *  Digging  was  continued  until  dawn 
was  breaking. 

The  battalion  had  made  one  of  the  deepest  advances 
of  the  day.  On  July  2nd  the  Bedfordshires  were  with- 
drawn, and  the  Fusiliers  took  over  the  defence  of  the 
brigade  front  till  the  following  day,  when,  on  relief,  they 
returned  to  Carnoy.  They  had  lost  very  heavily.  Savage, 
Parr-Dudley,  Mild  and  Greenwood  were  killed,  and 
49  O.R.  ;  148  were  wounded,  four  were  suffering  from 
shell-shock,  and  17  missing — a  very  much  smaller  casualty 
list  than  that  of  the  2nd  Battalion,  who  had  fought 
their  heroic  abortive  battle  at  Beaumont  Hamel.  On 
July  5th  they  were  visited  by  officers  of  the  4  th  Battalion, 
who  were  later  to  take  over  from  them. 

La  Boisselle. — On  the  following  days  the  victory  of 
July  1st  was  rounded  off  in  a  series  of  local  operations. 
On  the  3rd  the  9th  Battalion  were  in  support,  just  north 
of  Oviilers,  during  the  12th  Division's  unsuccessful  attack 
on  that  day.  Four  days  later  the  13th  Battalion  had 
moved  to  the  right  of  the  9th,  and  delivered  an  attack. 
La  Boisselle  had  fallen  on  the  3rd,  with  part  of  Oviilers. 
But  the  latter  and  Contalmaison  were  unreduced,  and  the 
13th  Battalion  struck  between  the  two.f  At  2  a.m.  on 
July  7th  the  13th  Battalion  was  assembled  in  the  old 
German  line  in  front  of  La  Boisselle,  with  orders  not  to 
attack  without  orders  from  the  brigade,  or  until  the 
flanks  were  well  ahead  ;  but  at  8.25  the  flanks  had 
advanced,  and,  touch  being  lost  with  the  brigade,  the 

*  Captain  Aley's  diary. 

t  This  attack  was  of  some  importance,  but  it  is  not  mentioned  in 
the  despatch,  nor  in  any  book  that  I  have  seen  . 

1  % 


n6    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

order  to  advance  was  given.  Major  Ardagh  led  off  with 
Nos.  i  and  2  Companies,  with  bombing  sections  covering 
the  flanks.  Due  east  of  La  Boisselle  some  resistance  was 
encountered  that  held  up  No.  2  Company  for  some  time, 
and  when  this  was  overcome,  the  right  flank  had  lost 
touch  with  the  brigade  on  the  south.  The  battalion  had 
lost  direction,  and  at  9.30  a.m.  the  right  flank  was  swung 
back  to  within  about  1,000  yards  due  west  of  Contal- 
maison.  The  line  was  consolidated,  and  it  was  at  this 
point  that  casualties  were  experienced  from  the  German 
artillery.  On  the  following  day  the  battalion  was  ordered 
to  push  on  to  the  next  line.  Captain  Nelson  took  Nos.  3 
and  4  Companies  to  this  objective,  which  stretched  from 
a  little  below  the  main  Albert  road  to  about  700  yards 
west  of  Contalmaison.  A  small  party  pushed  too  far 
ahead,  and  suffered  severely ;  but  in  the  two  days' 
operations,  with  fairly  moderate  casualties,  the  battalion 
had  advanced  the  line  materially,  captured  a  battery  of 
field  guns,  a  few  machine  guns,  and  nearly  200  prisoners. 
Lieutenant  Bleaden  was  killed  on  July  7th  ;  Captains  Bliss 
and  Nelson  and  Second  Lieutenants  Lewis  and  Morgan 
were  wounded.  The  casualties  in  other  ranks  were  20 
killed,  127  wounded  and  13  missing. 

Ovillers. — On  the  7th  two  other  Fusilier  battalions 
were  also  engaged  in  the  battle.  The  8th  and  9th 
Battalions  of  the  36th  Brigade,  with  the  7th  Sussex 
between  them,  made  another  attempt  to  capture  Ovillers, 
and  few  more  costly  actions  were  fought  in  the  whole  of 
the  battle  of  the  Somme.  The  8th  Battalion  was  on  the 
right,  and  the  plan  was  to  take  Ovillers  from  the  S.W. 
flank.  The  bombardment  began  at  4.30  a.m.,  and  at 
8.26  the  two  leading  companies,  A  and  D,  crawled  over 
the  parapet  and  lay  out  in  the  open.  The  weather  was 
bad ;  and  though  no  rain  fell  during  the  night,  the  fumes 
of  the  gas  shells  were  blanketed  into  the  hollows  of  the 
ground,  and  formed  a  death-trap  for  many  who  fell 
wounded.  Lieut. -Colonel  Annesley,  waving  his  stick,  led 
the  attack  as  the  barrage  lifted,  and  the  men  leaped 


ATTACK   ON   OVILLERS,   JULY   7TH        117 

forward  into  a  withering  machine-gun  fire.  The  Prussian 
Guards  who  held  these  battered  positions  were  worthy 
foemen,  and  though  the  first  and  second  trenches  were 
captured,  the  cost  was  very  terrible.  Annesley,  a  most 
gallant  officer,  was  early  hit  in  the  wrist.  Later  he  was 
wounded  in  the  ankle  ;  but  he  still  kept  on,  and  for  a 
time  the  final  objective  was  in  the  8th's  hands.  Annesley 
was  at  length  shot  above  the  heart,  and  fell  into  a  shell- 
hole,  where  he  lay  till  evening,  when  he  was  taken  to 
Albert  and  died  that  night.  Shortly  after  noon  the 
Fusiliers  were  in  Ovillers,  and  the  brigade  held  about  half 
of  it  on  a  north  and  south  line.  But  every  officer  engaged 
was  either  killed,  wounded  or  missing.  Captain  Feather- 
stonhaugh,  who  had  been  wounded,  but  refused  to  leave, 
was  killed.  So  also  were  Captains  Chard  and  Franklin. 
Captain  and  Adjutant  Robertson- Walker  was  never  heard 
of  again,  and  Second  Lieutenant  Procter  was  killed  ; 
17  other  officers  were  wounded.  The  battalion  had  gone 
into  action  800  strong  ;  they  mustered  160  at  night,  but 
held  on  until  relieved  on  the  following  day. 

The  9th  had  fared  similarly.  They  had  fought  under 
the  same  conditions,  and  their  losses  were  only  slightly 
less  than  those  of  the  8th  Battalion.  Rawlins,  Cook, 
Philipps,  Street,  Osborne,  Bindett,  Peacock  and  Manson 
were  killed,  and  Vere-Smith  later  died  of  wounds.  Spiers, 
Brown,  Bastable,  Twiddy,  Garrood  (missing),  Mackenzie 
and  Evans  were  wounded.  In  all  about  180  men  came 
out.  The  gallant  survivors  of  both  battalions  were 
congratulated,  and  it  is  merely  the  sober  truth  that 
the  ordeal  through  which  they  had  come  was  unique. 
Ovillers  held  out  some  days  longer,  and  it  was  not  taken 
until  the  village  had  been  more  completely  obliterated 
than  any  other  in  the  Somme  area  and  its  garrison  reduced 
to  126.  The  two  Fusilier  battalions  carried  the  reduction 
to  its  penultimate  stage. 

When  the  10th  Battalion  came  up  on  July  10th  they 
left  one  amazing  experience  to  go  to  another.  On  the 
night  of  the  9th  the  battalion  camp  at  Albert  was  heavily 


uS     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

shelled,  and  a  grenade  dump  (50,000)  detonated,  wounding 
an  officer,  killing  one  man  and  wounding  two  others.  But 
in  the  front  line  death  and  desolation  were  everywhere. 
La  Boiselle  was  level  with  the  ground.  The  trenches  were 
battered  and  exposed.  Dead  bodies  lay  about  on  all 
sides.  At  9  p.m.  on  July  10th  C  and  B  Companies  were 
pushed  up  in  relief  of  the  13th  Rifle  Brigade,  who,  attack- 
ing towards  Pozieres,  had  suffered  from  machine-gun  fire  ; 
and  the  battalion  lay  in  advanced  positions  under  heavy 
shell  fire  for  two  days.  The  men  preferred  attack  when 
losses  sustained  went  to  pay  the  price  of  some  tangible 
success,  or  at  least  to  further  an  obvious  purpose. 

Trones  Wood. — One  platoon  (No.  14)  of  D  Company 
of  the  nth  Battalion  assisted  the  12th  Middlesex  in  their 
successful  attack  on  Trones  Wood  on  July  14th  to  15th. 
As  they  were  moving  up  from  Maricourt  in  the  early  hours 
of  the  15th  they  ran  into  a  barrage  on  the  Maricourt- 
Briquetin  road.  They  had  "  one  casualty,  a  poor  devil 
who  gets  his  head  blown  off  by  a  large  piece  of  shrapnel. 
Still  no  signs  of  fear.  The  men  keep  in  their  fours,  and  go 
on  as  if  nothing  had  happened."  *  Aley  was  wounded  in 
Trones  Wood,  and  the  platoon  suffered  heavily.  After 
serious  losses  from  the  continual  bombardment  the 
battalion  left  the  Somme  area  on  the  18th. 

Pozieres. — Meanwhile  the  10th  Battalion  had  been 
engaged,  and  had  fought  their  way  to  the  orchard  on  the 
south-west  entrance  of  Pozieres.  At  9  a.m.  on  July  15th 
they  had  advanced  up  Sausage  Valley  in  support  of  the 
main  attack.  About  300  yards  from  the  village  they  were 
held  up  by  machine-gun  fire.  The  hollow  road  seemed  to 
be  blocked  with  troops  ;  and  it  was  obvious  the  attack 
had  failed  before  it  was  abandoned.  The  CO.  asked  per- 
mission to  place  a  barrage  at  the  southern  end  of  the 
village  and  to  take  part  in  the  attack.  The  battalion 
advanced  with  a  dash,  and  Lieutenant  F.  M.  Taylor,  with 
D  Company,  seized  the  orchard,  and  an  attempt  was  made 
to  penetrate  the  outlying  orchards.     But  this  movement 

*  Officer's  diary. 


POZIERES,   JULY   15TH  119 

was  defeated  by  concentrated  machine-gun  fire,  and  the 
advanced  positions  had  to  be  evacuated.  Headquarters 
in  chalk  pit,  about  900  yards  from  the  edge  of  the  village, 
had  been  in  constant  communication  with  all  the  com- 
panies, and  in  the  afternoon  a  renewed  effort  was  made. 
After  a  pause  for  reorganisation  the  village  was  bom- 
barded from  5  to  6  p.m.,  and  the  signal  was  given  for  the 
advance.  But  at  this  point  there  was  an  unfortunate 
mischance.  The  rockets  failed,  owing  to  dampness ;  and 
the  battalion  did  not  start  in  unison.  Some  advanced, 
others  still  waited,  and  the  blow  failed.  Most  determined 
and  repeated  attempts  were  made  to  rush  the  village,  but 
nothing  could  live  in  such  a  machine-gun  fire.  The 
battalion  were  driven  back  to  cover  in  the  afternoon 
positions,  and  the  10th  Loyal  North  Lancashires  took  over 
the  positions  after  dark.  All  the  company  commanders 
were  casualties,  and  so  heavily  had  the  battalion  lost  that, 
with  the  division,  they  were  taken  out  of  the  line. 

High  Wood. — To  the  south-east  the  4th  Battalion  were 
assisting  in  the  capture  of  the  Bazentins.  On  July  8th 
they  had  relieved  the  nth  Battalion  at  Carnoy,  and  on 
the  14th  they  provided  working  and  carrying  parties  for 
the  brigade  attack  on  Bazentin-le-Grand.  A  few  days 
later  the  20th  Battalion  were  sent  to  hold  the  front  line  in 
Bazentin,  and,  later,  supported  the  19th  Brigade  attack 
on  High  Wood.  As  the  brigade  cleared  the  southern  end 
of  the  wood  the  battalion  cleared  up  and  consolidated  in 
their  rear,  and  at  least  this  part  of  the  wood  was  securely 
held  that  night.  They  organised  a  front  and  support  line 
across  the  wood  from  east  to  west,  with  a  strong  post  in 
the  support  line,  and  held  on  to  the  position  until  relieved 
at  midnight.  Their  task  cost  them  dearly.  Lieut. -Colonel 
Bennett  was  wounded  ;  Captain  Toller,  Lieutenant  Wall- 
work,  Lieutenant  Rawson,  Lieutenant  Palmer,  Second 
Lieutenant  Price  and  Second  Lieutenant  Coventry  were 
killed  ;  Second  Lieutenant  Hine  was  among  the  missing  ; 
Captain  Hollingworth,  Second  Lieutenant  Bell,  Second 
Lieutenant   Cooke,   Second   Lieutenant   Brooke,   Second 


120     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Lieutenant  Fabricius,  Second  Lieutenant  Ives  and  Second 
Lieutenant  Herbert  were  wounded.  The  casualties  in 
other  ranks  were  375  killed,  wounded  and  missing. 

Delville  Wood. — On  the  20th  the  4th  Battalion  moved 
up  to  Delville  Wood,  which  saw  a  number  of  Fusilier 
battalions  in  the  next  few  days.  This  wood,  which  the 
soldiers  aptly  called  "  Devil's  Wood,"  was  one  of  the  many 
German  positions  which  were  apparently  captured  many 
times  without  ceasing  to  be  the  scene  of  very  bitter 
fighting.  The  South  Africans  had  their  outposts  on  the 
outer  fringes  of  the  wood  on  the  night  of  July  15th  ;  but 
on  the  1 8th  a  heavy  German  counter-attack  swept  away 
the  British  troops,  and  in  the  recoil  only  the  southern  end 
of  the  wood  could  be  retained.  The  following  day  was 
occupied  by  the  struggle  to  clear  the  wood  once  again  ;  and 
it  was  in  the  lull  after  the  fighting  had  temporarily  died 
down  that  the  Fusiliers  took  over  from  the  Essex,  Suffolk 
and  Welsh  Fusiliers  in  the  south-east  of  the  wood. 

It  was  a  deadly  area.  Even  in  getting  into  position 
40  casualties  were  experienced,  but  the  battalion,  who  had 
been  complimented  for  their  steadiness  after  Le  Cateau, 
showed  no  trace  of  wavering.  There  were  practically  no 
trenches,  and  the  position  was  methodically  consolidated 
under  the  worst  conditions.  A  continuous  trench  line  was 
constructed,  though  the  men  were  working  so  close  to  the 
Germans  that  many  British  shells  fell  into  the  trench. 
At  10  p.m.  on  the  21st  the  Germans  delivered  a  local 
counter-attack.  Well  prepared  and  vigorously  pressed,  it 
still  disturbed  the  Fusiliers  very  little.  The  repulse  cost 
the  battalion  a  number  of  casualties  :  Major  Wrenford, 
Second  Lieutenant  Cook,  and  30  other  ranks  were  wounded. 
Second  Lieutenant  Sparkes  was  shot  through  the  head 
earlier  in  the  day.  He  was  in  command  of  Z  Company, 
and  was  looking  for  a  place  for  two  of  his  platoons.  His 
was  a  well-known  Fusilier  name. 

When  the  4th  Battalion  were  relieved  at  midnight  on  the 
24th  they  had  lost  12  officers  and  340  other  ranks,  killed, 
wounded  and  missing,  in  thirteen  days,  without  taking 


DELVILLE  WOOD,   JULY   27TH  121 

part  in  any  attack.  In  beating  off  the  counter-attack  in 
Delville  Wood  they  lost  scarcely  more  than  the  daily 
average.  The  losses  under  such  conditions  form  a  striking 
illustration  of  the  plane  on  which  the  Somme  battle  was 
fought. 

The  2nd  Division  had  now  been  brought  to  the  Somme 
area,  and  the  first  of  its  four  Fusilier  battalions  to  enter 
the  battle  zone  was  the  17th.  It  was  also  their  first 
entrance  into  any  battle  zone  when  they  took  over  the 
support  line  at  Longueval  Alley  on  July  25th.  We  have 
already  seen  that  actual  attack  was  not  necessary  for 
the  suffering  of  casualties,  and  Lieutenant  Richmond  was 
the  first  to  succumb.  There  was  a  heavy  bombardment 
with  tear  shells,  and  he  was  gassed  on  the  first  day  in  the 
trenches.  On  the  following  day  there  was  little  inter- 
mission in  the  German  shelling,  and  with  every  precaution 
15  further  casualties  were  suffered.  On  the  27th  A  and  B 
Companies  went  to  Delville  Wood  in  the  afternoon,  and 
on  this  occasion  there  were  118  casualties. 

But  this  was  the  day  on  which  Delville  Wood  was  again 
overrun.  Four  battalions  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  had  their 
share  in  this  memorable  exploit,  and  the  place  of  honour 
was  given  to  the  23rd  Battalion.  They  had  had  an  uncom- 
fortable time  in  Bernafay  Wood  previous  to  the  attack. 
Words  fail  to  do  justice  to  the  situation  at  this  moment. 
It  was  hot  weather.  The  ground  was  pitted  and  torn  by 
shell  fire.  Dead  bodies  lay  about,  and  before  the  troops 
began  to  move  up  the  Germans  had  indulged  in  a  heavy 
bombardment  with  gas  shells.  Fortunately  a  welcome 
breeze  made  the  wearing  of  masks  unnecessary.  The 
approach  was  covered  by  the  British  barrage,  and  near 
Longueval  one  shell  fell  close  to  the  Fusiliers,  badly 
wounding  one  man. 

"  It's  hard  lines,"  said  the  man  when  the  CO.  went  to 
him. 

"  I  know  it  is,"  said  the  CO.,  "  but  you'll  soon  be  all 
right.    The  stretcher-bearers  are  coming." 

"  Oh  !  it's  not  that,"  was  the  man's  rejoinder.     "  It's 


122     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

being  hit  just  now  !     Here  have  I  been  all  this  time  in 

France  without  having  a  real  go  at  the  b s,  and  now 

the  chance  has  come,  here  I  go  and  get  knocked  out."  * 

The  battalion  formed  up  in  a  trench  at  the  edge  of  the 
wood  with  the  ist  K.R.R.C.  on  the  right  and  the  ist  Royal 
Berks  in  support.  The  coolness  of  the  men  was  remark- 
able, and  one  man,  hearing  that  there  were  still  five 
minutes  to  zero,  calmly  went  back  to  his  breakfast.  The 
position  to  be  assaulted  was  as  difficult  as  any  in  the 
Somme  area.  The  wood  was  now  merely  a  collection  of 
bare  stumps,  but  the  trees  which  had  crashed  and  the  thick 
undergrowth  provided  ideal  obstacles  and  cover.  The 
ground  seemed  to  be  alive  with  machine  guns,  and  the 
German  barrage  effectually  cut  off  all  approach  to  the 
wood.  The  defending  troops  were  the  Brandenburgers ; 
and  after  the  first  objective  had  been  captured,  numbers 
of  them  were  taken  prisoner. 

The  barrage  lifted  at  7.10  a.m.,  and  the  first  wave,  con- 
sisting of  A  and  B  Companies,  who  had  formed  up  in  front 
of  the  existing  trenches  when  the  barrage  began,  went 
forward,  and  with  little  opposition  captured  the  Princes 
Street  line.  This  avenue  practically  cut  the  wood  in  two 
from  east  to  west ;  and  it  was  occupied  and  consolidation 
begun  within  nine  minutes  of  the  advance.  D  and  C 
Companies  had  occupied  the  line  vacated  by  the  first 
wave,  and  when,  at  7.40  a.m.,  the  barrage  lifted  again, 
the  second  wave  passed  through  the  first.  The  barrage 
had  lifted  again  (8.10  a.m.),  and  the  advance  began  on  the 
final  objective,  while  the  second  wave  was  struggling  with 
a  redoubt  on  the  left  front.  Excellently  covered  and 
strongly  manned,  the  obstacle  seemed  to  defy  capture 
until  two  Lewis  guns  were  sent  up  and  placed  so  as  to  take 
the  redoubt  from  the  flank.  Assisted  by  bombers,  the  Lewis 
guns  soon  put  an  end  to  the  resistance.  Two  machine  guns 
were  put  out  of  action,  and  Sergeant  Royston,  finding  a 
third  intact,  turned  it  upon  part  of  the  garrison  who  were 

*  Major  N.  A.  Lewis,  D.S.O.,  M.C.,  quoted  in  "  The  23rd  (Service) 
Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers." 


DELVILLE  WOOD  CLEARED,   JULY   27TH      123 

escaping.  Shortly  afterwards  (9.40  a.m.)  the  final  objective 
was  captured,  and  the  men  dug  in  on  the  further  edge  of 
the  wood,  with  a  good  field  of  fire.  The  rest  of  the  day 
was  occupied  in  dealing  with  attempts  to  get  round  the 
flanks. 

At  n  a.m.  the  1st  K.R.R.C,  who  held  the  exposed  flank 
on  the  right,  were  attacked  by  German  bombers,  and  B 
Company  bombers  and  a  machine  gun  were  sent  to  support. 
At  this  moment  also  began  the  enemy  bombardment  of  the 
whole  of  the  wood,  and,  persisting  until  midnight,  it  made 
life  very  precarious.  Most  of  the  casualties  suffered  by 
the  23rd  were  sustained  in  this  ceaseless  fire.  But  their 
position  was  safe  compared  with  that  of  the  K.R.R.C.  The 
17th  Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers  lay  south  of  the  wood  with 
the  22nd  Battalion  forward  on  their  left.  A  and  B  Com- 
panies of  the  22nd  were  sent  up  as  carrying  parties,  and 
passed  the  headquarters  of  the  17th  with  S.A.A.  and  tools. 
At  1  p.m.  a  message  was  sent  to  the  22nd  to  reinforce  the 
K.R.R.C.  At  2  p.m.  A  and  B  Companies  of  the  17th 
moved  up  to  Delville  Wood,  and  before  the  end  of  the 
day  every  available  man  of  the  22nd  was  thrown  into  the 
struggle  on  the  right.  At  3.30  p.m.  a  strong  counter- 
attack was  delivered  by  the  enemy  on  this  flank,  and  the 
situation  was  only  cleared  up  by  the  assistance  of  the 
23rd's  bombers  and  the  full  remaining  strength  of  the  22nd. 
Captain  Walsh  collected  all  the  carrying  parties,  to  the 
number  of  about  250,  and  organised  them  into  a  fighting 
unit.  Captain  Gell  took  the  last  100  men  of  C  and  D  Com- 
panies up  to  the  wood  from  Bernafay  Wood,  and  with 
them  held  the  south-east  flank  of  the  wood.  The  wood 
undoubtedly  justified  its  nickname  on  this  day.  Wherever 
the  men  stood  they  were  under  shell  fire,  and  it  seemed 
impossible  that  any  troops  should  be  left  to  hold  what  had 
been  won. 

But  at  the  end  of  the  day  the  wood  was  handed  over 
intact ;  and  the  23rd,  though  they  had  lost  12  officers 
(5  killed)  and  276  other  ranks,  came  out  at  night,  jauntily 
enough,  smoking  German  cigars  and  well  pleased  with 


124     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN   THE  GREAT   WAR 

themselves.  Theirs  had  been  the  straighter  task  of  over- 
running German  positions.  They  had  taken  six  machine 
guns  and,  with  the  K.R.R.C.,  160  prisoners.  The  22nd, 
who  had  had  the  less  stimulating  task  of  beating  off  the 
continued  attacks  of  the  enemy  and  of  suffering  their  shell 
fire,  had  possibly  achieved  a  greater  thing.  Largely  owing 
to  them,  the  flank  was  held  up,  and  unless  this  had  been 
accomplished  the  wood  would  have  been  lost  almost  before 
it  was  won.  They  lost  Captain  Grant,  commanding  the 
brigade  machine  gun  company,  killed,  4  other  officers 
wounded,  and  189  other  ranks  killed,  wounded  and  missing. 
The  17th  lost  Lieutenant  Fletcher  and  Second  Lieutenant 
Penny  killed,  3  officers  wounded,  and  113  other  ranks 
killed,  wounded  and  missing. 

On  July  30th  C  Company  of  the  24th  Battalion  was 
engaged.  On  the  previous  evening  the  battalion  had 
taken  over  the  front  line  from  the  southern  edge  of  Delville 
Wood  to  Waterlot  Farm,  and  on  the  30th  they  advanced 
against  a  German  trench  some  600  yards  east  of  Waterlot 
Farm.  A  thick  mist  lay  over  the  ground  as  the  men  went 
forward,  and  it  was  very  difficult  to  keep  direction.  When 
this  initial  and  serious  handicap  had  been  overcome,  it  was 
found  that  the  German  wire  had  been  uncut.  "  The  king 
of  the  war,"  as  the  French  called  barbed  wire,  exercised 
its  sovereignty  once  again.  Captain  C.  S.  Meares  was 
killed  on  the  wire,  leading  his  men,  and  the  company 
fought  valiantly,  but  to  no  purpose.  C  Company  attacked 
with  3  officers  and  114  other  ranks.  One  wounded  officer 
and  11  other  ranks  remained  at  the  end  of  the  day.  Such 
was  the  price  paid  for  co-operation  in  the  attack  on 
Guillemont. 

During  the  next  few  days  the  17th,  22nd  and  23rd 
Battalions  saw  further  service  in  this  very  perilous  sector. 
On  August  1st  the  22nd  Battalion  moved  into  Delville 
Wood.  Lieut. -Colonel  Barnett  Barker  was  placed  in 
command  of  the  wood,  with  the  23rd  Battalion  in  support. 
These  dispositions  remained  in  force  until  the  night  of 
the  3rd,  when  the  Royal  Fusiliers  were  relieved  during 


NIGHT  ATTACK,   AUGUST  3RD  125 

a    heavy    bombardment    which    caused    a    number    of 
casualties. 

3^  Jf*  3|C  JfC 

Pozieres  Ridge. — The  8th  and  9th  Battalions  were 
engaged  once  more  in  the  first  week  of  August  in  operations 
about  Pozieres.  That  these  were  minor  operations  does 
not  detract  from  their  interest  or  from  their  influence  on 
the  capture  of  the  Pozieres  Ridge.  The  8th  Battalion 
attacked  with  the  6th  Buffs.  Their  objective  was  a 
section  of  4th  Avenue,  a  trench  north-west  of  Pozieres. 
The  attack  was  made  at  n  p.m.  on  the  night  of  August  3rd, 
and  as  the  barrage  lifted  two  platoons  of  A  and  B 
Companies  walked  slowly  forward  until  within  50  yards 
of  the  trench,  when  they  charged.  The  Germans  were 
taken  completely  by  surprise,  and  the  trench  was  captured. 
The  Germans  sent  up  phosphorus  red  flares  which  lit  up 
the  storming  troops  ;  and  they  fought  very  well.  Colonel 
Cope,  commanding  the  Buffs,  personally  reconnoitred  the 
ground  during  the  attack,  and  owing  to  his  prompt 
decision,  part  of  the  5th  Avenue  trench  was  also  seized 
and  held.  By  midnight  the  position  was  being  consoli- 
dated, and  the  two  battalions  had  captured  2  officers  (one 
wearing  the  Iron  Cross)  and  89  other  ranks.  Lieutenant 
Wardrop  and  Second  Lieutenant  A.  Stiles  were  killed  in 
the  attack,  and  Second  Lieutenant  R.  W.  Hampton  was 
wounded,  and  there  were  about  150  other  casualties. 
About  1  a.m.  a  bombing  block  was  established  in  the  new 
trench,  and  Captain  Clarke  held  it  against  two  enemy 
attacks.  As  day  broke  on  the  4th  a  company  was  seen 
to  be  charging  down  on  the  battalion's  right  flank.  Only 
by  good  luck  was  disaster  averted,  for  it  was  soon  realised 
that  these  were  the  Sussex,  who  had  lost  direction  in  the 
dark. 

The  darkness  made  it  difficult  to  determine  the  positions 
with  accuracy.  At  one  time  it  was  thought  that  Ration 
Trench  had  been  taken.  When  the  mistake  was  discovered 
later  it  was  decided  to  attack  the  position  in  the  evening 
with  the  three  battalions  of  the  36th  Brigade,  the  2nd 


126    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Anzac  Division  co-operating  with  an  advance  to  the  north- 
east of  Pozieres.  Night  attacks  have  their  own  peculiar 
difficulties  and  terrors.  Even  in  broad  daylight  actions 
could  rarely  be  carried  out  exactly  as  they  were  planned. 
So  severe  and  constant  was  the  bombardment  by  both 
sides  that  even  villages  were  difficult  to  recognise,  and 
trenches  appeared  to  be  little  different  from  the  pitted  lines 
of  shell-holes. 

In  the  attack  on  Ration  Trench  on  August  4th  many 
circumstances  conspired  to  add  to  the  strain  on  the  men. 
The  battalions  engaged  advanced  on  lines  which  might 
have  led  to  hopeless  confusion  and  did,  in  fact,  result  in 
isolated  encounters  of  almost  unimaginable  horror.  The 
Sussex  were  moving  against  a  section  of  the  trench  which 
involved  an  attack  in  a  westerly  direction.  The  9th 
Fusiliers  were  directed  partly  to  the  north.  The  New 
Zealands  were  striking  north-east.  Germans  seemed  to 
turn  up  everywhere  during  the  night :  in  front,  on  the 
flanks,  even  in  the  rear,  and  the  Fusiliers  appeared  to  form 
little  islands  in  a  sea  of  enemy.  Zero  was  at  9.15  p.m., 
but  detailed  attack  orders  were  not  issued  till  8.17,  and 
everything  had  to  be  arranged  in  less  than  an  hour.  The 
9th  Battalion  moved  off  at  3  p.m.  to  take  over  part  of  the 
8th  Fusiliers'  trenches,  and  were  at  once  spotted  by  the 
Germans  and  shelled  on  the  way.  About  6.30  p.m.  they 
were  in  position  in  parts  of  3rd  and  4th  Avenues,  approxi- 
mately 1,000  yards  due  west  of  Pozieres,  after  losing 
about  15  men  while  moving  up. 

An  intense  bombardment  began  at  zero.  Five  minutes 
later  the  two  battalions  advanced,  and  at  about  50  yards 
from  Ration  Trench  charged.  The  objectives  were  gained 
in  less  than  an  hour  on  the  left,  but  on  the  right  an 
unknown  trench  held  up  the  attackers.  At  1  a.m.  on  the 
5th  came  the  first  reports  of  Germans  still  existing  between 
the  lines.  The  Fusiliers  began  to  be  sniped  from  the  rear, 
and  the  situation  was  not  cleared  up  until  the  afternoon. 
The  8th  Battalion  had  charged  over  the  trench  on  their 
way  to  Ration  Trench,  and  left  unnoticed  2  officers  and 


FIGHTING  NEAR  POZIERES,  AUGUST  5TH-6TH    127 

100  other  ranks.  Lance-Corporal  Camping  *  and  one  or 
two  men  who  could  speak  German  crawled  out  of  their 
trench,  though  exposed  to  constant  sniping,  and  threatened 
the  Germans  with  a  severe  bombardment  if  they  did  not 
give  themselves  up  before  dark.  The  whole  party  then 
surrendered.  They  were  part  of  a  Jaeger  battalion  who 
had  reached  the  trenches  only  a  day  or  two  before,  and 
they  had  decided  to  break  through  Ration  Trench  to  their 
own  lines  during  the  evening. 

The  two  battalions  were  now  in  contact  and  engaged  in 
the  work  of  consolidation.  Bombing  posts  were  organised 
in  Ration  Trench,  and  the  day  (August  5th)  was  generally 
quiet.  But  shortly  after  midnight  a  heavy  bombardment 
of  the  lines  began,  and  the  shelling  continued  until  4  a.m. 
(6th).  The  9th  Battalion,  lying  west  of  the  8th,  were 
subjected  to  a  determined  counter-attack  during  this  time. 
Many  of  the  men  were  quite  new  to  warfare.  For  some  it 
was  their  first  experience  of  actual  righting,  and  their 
bearing  was  admirable.  The  assault  was  made  by 
flammenwerfers,  supported  by  bombers  using  smoke  as  a 
screen.  The  flames  burst  through  the  clouds  of  smoke 
from  various  directions,  and  all  the  conditions  of  panic 
were  present.  The  fumes  alone  were  sufficient  to  over- 
power some  of  the  men.  But  no  panic  took  place.  The 
situation  was  handled  very  coolly.  The  attack  was  made 
on  the  north-east  end  of  Ration  Trench,  and  about  20  men 
were  extended  in  the  open  on  either  side  of  the  trench  with 
two  Lewis  guns.  The  attack  was  thus  beaten  off  with  a 
loss  of  only  40  yards  of  trench.     Many  fine  incidents 

*  I  have  been  continually  amazed  at  the  uncanny  skill  with  which 
published  accounts  of  the  various  incidents  of  the  war  wrongly  identify 
the  units  engaged.  The  Royal  Fusiliers  came  in  for  more  than  their 
share  of  being  passed  over.  An  ironic  poem  written  by  Corporal 
Warren,  of  the  nth  Battalion,  in  the  rhythm  of  the  British  Grenadiers, 
comments  on  this  tendency. 

"  The  papers  get  the  money, 
So  they  praise  the  Royal  West  Kents," 

is,  perhaps,  the  least  offensive  distich.  I  am  reminded  of  this  by 
Mr.  Gibbs'  attribution  of  the  whole  of  this  incident  to  the  men  of 
Sussex,  which  in  this  case  means  the  Sussex  Regiment  or  nothing. 


128     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

marked  this  defence.  Private  Leigh  Rouse  *  (9th),  who 
had  never  visited  the  trenches  before,  was  in  the  sap  when 
the  flammenwerfer  attack  began.  He  managed  to  get 
back  along  the  trench  and,  though  nearly  choked  with 
fumes  and  with  his  clothes  burnt,  refused  to  go  to  the 
dressing  station.  He  continued  to  throw  bombs  until  his 
arm  gave  out,  and  then,  joining  the  covering  party,  used 
his  rifle  with  great  effect. 

During  the  next  night,  when  another  attack  was 
expected,  he  remained  close  to  the  barricade.  Sergeant 
Charles  Quinnell  f  twice  went  out  from  Ration  Trench 
with  a  patrol,  and  obtained  valuable  information.  Most 
of  the  men  in  his  platoon  had  never  been  in  a  front  line 
trench  before,  and  their  remarkable  coolness  and  endurance 
were  largely  due  to  his  fine  example.  Lancc-Corporal 
Cyril  Cross  f  took  his  Lewis  gun  into  a  shell-hole  outside 
the  trench  during  the  flammenwerfer  attack,  and  engaged 
the  enemy,  who  were  in  great  strength,  at  close  range, 
inflicting  many  casualties  until  his  gun  was  put  out  of 
action.  Private  Tom  Crow  f  continued  to  throw  bombs 
from  the  very  edge  of  the  flames,  showing  a  complete 
disregard  of  the  enemy.  He  was  finally  wounded  by  a 
sniper  as  he  was  closely  pursuing  the  enemy.  All  these 
men  belonged  to  A  Company,  commanded  by  Captain 
G.  L.  Cazalet,  M.C.,  who  had  led  his  men  across  the  open 
on  the  night  of  the  5th,  in  less  than  three-quarters  of  an 
hour  had  taken  his  objective,  and  was  responsible  for  the 
defence  of  500  yards  of  Ration  Trench,  the  flank  of  which 
was  held  by  the  enemy.  Though  wounded,  he  refused  to 
leave  the  trench  ;  and  it  was  chiefly  owing  to  his  fine 
example  that  his  company,  though  almost  quite  new  to 
warfare,  behaved  so  finely.  He  was  awarded  a  well- 
deserved  D.S.O. 

All  day  on  the  6th  and  7th  the  German  bombardment 
of  the  Fusiliers  continued.  In  the  afternoon  of  the  latter 
day  the  two  battalions  were  relieved.     Both  had  lost  very 

*  Awarded  M.M. 
t  Awarded  D.C.M. 


FOURTH  BATTALION  AT  GUILLEMONT    129 

heavily.  In  addition  to  those  already  mentioned,  the 
8th  lost  Lieutenant  J.  A.  Pearson ;  Captain  S.  H.  Clarke 
was  wounded,  and  there  were  about  30  other  ranks  killed 
and  wounded.  The  losses  of  the  9th  were  heavier. 
Green,  Stevens,  Lupton,  Heaver  and  Bungay  were  killed  ; 
Knott,  Cazalet,  Pilgrim,  Calwell,  Fox,  Thornton  and 
Fifoot  were  wounded ;  and  there  were  281  other  ranks 
killed,  wounded  and  missing.  But  they  took  prisoner 
2  officers  and  1  wounded  officer  with  135  other 
ranks,  and  received  congratulations  from  the  Commander- 
in-Chief.  The  battalions  marched  off  to  Bouzincourt, 
and  on  the  10th  lined  the  road  at  Senlis  for  the  inspection 
by  the  King  and  the  Prince  of  Wales. 

*  *  *  * 

Guillemont. — On  the  other  operative  flank  of  the 
British  attack  several  other  Fusilier  battalions  were  now 
engaged.  Of  the  two  great  pivots  of  the  German  defensive 
in  what  Sir  Douglas  Haig  calls  the  second  phase  of  the 
battle  of  the  Somme  one,  Guillemont,  still  remained 
untaken.  It  had  been  entered  on  July  30th,  but  was 
evacuated,  as  the  flanking  positions  still  remained  intact. 
It  was  entered  once  more  on  August  8th,  and  again 
abandoned  for  the  same  reason.  From  these  two  failures 
it  was  evident  that  the  capture  of  the  village  could  not 
be  regarded  safely  as  an  isolated  enterprise,  and  it  was 
accordingly  arranged  for  a  series  of  attacks  in  progressive 
stages  in  conjunction  with  the  French,  whose  sphere  of 
action  was  not  2,000  yards  to  the  south. 

Three  battalions  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  played  their 
part  in  these  operations.  In  "  the  first  stage  of  the 
prearranged  scheme  "  *  the  4th  Battalion  was  engaged. 
At  this  time  Major  H.  E.  Meade  was  in  command,  as 
Lieut. -Colonel  Hely-Hutchinson  had  been  thrown  from 
his  horse  on  the  nth  and  had  been  removed  to  hospital. 
On  August  15th  the  battalion  took  over  the  trenches 
facing  the  southern  corner  of  Guillemont.  The  1st 
Battalion  was  only  1,000  yards  to  their  rear,  preparing 

*  Despatch. 

F.  K 


130     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

to  take  its  share  in  the  struggle.  On  the  way  up  the 
4th  had  lost  Second  Lieutenant  Goolden,  who  was  killed 
by  a  shell.  The  approach  was  across  open  country  over 
which  the  enemy  had  direct  observation,  and  the  Germans 
had  concentrated  a  heavy  volume  of  machine  gun  fire  in 
the  village.  This  may  serve  to  explain  why  the  attack 
failed  in  spite  of  the  most  gallant  and  persistent  efforts 
of  all  ranks.  The  4th  had  on  their  left  flank  the  24th 
Division,  and  on  their  right  the  King's  Liverpools.  X  and 
Z  Companies  led  the  attack  at  5.40  p.m.  (August  16th) 
after  a  short  but  intense  bombardment,  but  they  encoun- 
tered a  very  heavy  machine  gun  fire.  Both  company 
commanders  were  killed  as  they  crossed  the  parapet,  and 
before  the  fighting  ceased  every  other  officer  had  been 
killed  or  wounded,  and  there  were  160  other  ranks 
casualties.  It  was  a  discouraging  episode  ;  and  the  badly 
weakened  unit  were  left  to  hold  the  original  front  line 
under  a  heavy  bombardment  until  the  18th,  when  a 
further  attempt  was  made  by  other  troops.  The  battalion 
passed  to  brigade  reserve,  and  was  organised  into  two 
companies. 

After  this  abortive  attempt  to  eat  into  the  Guillemont 
defences  the  positions  were  bombarded  for  thirty-six 
hours,  when  the  1st  Battalion  co-operated  in  immediate 
support.  They  had  been  in  the  area  from  August  8th, 
when  they  took  over  trenches  from  Delville  Wood  to 
Trones  Wood,  with  headquarters  in  Waterlot  Farm.  It 
was  a  warm  quarter,  and  two  days  after  taking  over  the 
line  the  situation  was  made  still  more  uncomfortable  by 
one  of  those  unhappy  mischances  which,  apparently,  could 
not  be  altogether  prevented.  A  number  of  our  own 
0/2  shells  fell  upon  B  Company,  and  caused  23  casualties. 
Lieutenant  W.  van  Grierson  *  showed  great  gallantry 
in  rescuing  buried  men,  and,  unfortunately,  was  mortally 
wounded  in  so  doing.  Private  Tanner  *  and  Corporal 
Silcox  *  courageously  brought  Private  Lynch  from  No 

*  Van  Grierson  was  awarded  the  M.C.,  Silcox  and  Tanner  the  M.M., 
for  the  same  operation. 


GUILLEMONT,   AUGUST   17TH— i8th        131 

Man's  Land  in  broad  daylight,  from  within  100  yards  of 
the  German  trenches,  under  heavy  machine  gun  fire. 

After  a  few  days  in  the  rear  trenches,  they  took  up  their 
positions  for  attack  on  the  17th.  C  Company  was  in 
Trones  Wood,  supporting  the  8th  Buffs,  A  in  Sherwood 
Trench,  in  support  of  the  3rd  Rifle  Brigade,  while  B  and 
D  occupied  Dummy  Trench  and  Longueval  Alley.  The 
attack  began  at  3.30  p.m.  on  a  broad  front,  with  three 
other  divisions  co-operating.  The  objective  of  the  3rd 
Rifle  Brigade  was  Guillemont  station,  while  the  8th  Buffs 
were  directed  against  a  trench  some  200  yards  from  the 
front  line  in  the  direction  of  Ginchy.  Both  objectives 
were  attained.  The  station,  lying  on  a  light  railway 
just  outside  and  to  the  north  of  Guillemont,  had  become 
a  tactical  feature  of  some  importance,  and  later  in  the 
month  it  was  the  scene  of  a  vigorous  counter-attack. 
Only  on  the  extreme  right  of  the  24th  Division  did  the 
attack  fail,  and  this  led  to  the  postponement  of  a  third 
advance  timed  for  5.30  a.m.  on  the  19th.  The  battalion 
on  this  occasion  suffered  66  casualties,  including  three 
officers  wounded. 

The  12th  Battalion  had  been  in  reserve  during  the 
battle.  They  had  assisted  in  covering  the  attack  on  the 
16th  by  putting  up  a  smoke  barrage  on  part  of  the  front. 
On  the  18th  they  provided  a  party  to  consolidate  during 
the  attack,  and  carrying  parties  for  S.A.A.  to  the  front 
line.  After  dark  No.  4  Company,  under  Captain  Ander- 
son, went  up  to  the  front  fine  and  dug  a  communication 
trench  from  the  old  fine  to  the  new  positions. 
*  *  *  * 

One  of  the  minor  excitements  of  the  battle  occurred 
early  on  August  21st.  An  ammunition  dump  in  Bernafay 
Wood  was  fired.  Continuous  explosions  came  from  the 
Stokes  mortar  ammunition.  Flying  splinters  filled  the 
air,  and  men  were  blown  bodily  into  the  fire  by  the 
explosion.  R.S.M.  Hack  (1st  Battalion)  very  gallantly 
rescued  wounded  in  the  midst  of  the  flying  fragments  of 
exploding  bombs,  and  there  were  many  casualties  in  the 

k  a 


132     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

attempts  to  put  the  fire  out.  Second  Lieutenant  Tiffany 
(12th  Battalion)  rescued  several  men  who  had  been  blown 
into  the  fire,  and  at  length  the  mishap  expended  itself 
without  compelling  the  postponement  of  the  afternoon 
operations  against  Guillemont.  The  ist  Battalion  on  this 
occasion  had  two  companies,  A  and  D,  engaged,  with  the 
3rd  Rifle  Brigade  on  the  left  and  the  8th  Queen's  (72nd 
Brigade)  on  the  right.  The  Fusiliers  advanced  at  3.30  p.m. 
"  Hill  Street  "  and  "  Brompton  Road  "were  the  objectives. 
The  ist  Battalion  got  away  with  great  dash,  and  after  a 
strenuous  fight  drove  the  enemy  out  of  the  trench  in  front 
of  Hill  Street  ;  but  the  flanking  battalions  were  both  held 
up,  and,  although  the  Fusiliers  pushed  well  ahead,  it  was 
necessary  to  withdraw  to  the  trench  already  mentioned. 
A  Company,  under  Captain  Bell,  went  into  battle  only  70 
strong,  and  both  the  company  commanders  and  Second 
Lieutenant  Jacobs  displayed  great  courage  and  coolness. 
The  headquarters  bombers  also  did  good  service,  and 
Sergeant  Pye,  though  wounded,  volunteered  to  take  a 
message  to  his  company  commander.  He  was  wounded 
again  as  he  returned.  This  was  the  ist  Battalion's  last 
period  of  service  in  the  Somme  battle.  On  relief,  the 
following  day,  they  went  to  Happy  Valley  and  later  to 
Bussus  :  "a  very  pleasant  place,"  notes  the  battalion 
diary,  "  after  the  desolation  in  and  around  the  villages  of 
the  battle  area."  The  battalion  had  suffered  403  casualties 
during  the  Somme  operations.  Captain  Bell  was  awarded 
the  D.S.O.,  Second  Lieutenant  Jacobs  the  M.C.,  R.S.M. 
Hack  the  M.C.,  and  Sergeant  Pye  the  D.C.M. 
*  *  *  * 

Fighting  still  continued  in  and  about  Delville  Wood, 
but  on  August  24th  the  situation  was  much  improved  by 
an  attack  in  which  the  20th  Royal  Fusiliers  took  part. 
The  advance  began  at  5.45,  and  the  battalion  sent  up 
two  platoons  to  occupy  part  of  the  trench  captured 
by  the  100th  Brigade.  The  trench  lay  to  the  west  of 
the  northern  part  of  Delville  Wood,  and  the  Fusiliers 
took  over  a  bombing   post   at   the  corner  of   the  new 


GUILLEMONT  TO  GINCHY  133 

trench,  and  at  once  set  about  connecting  it  with  the 
support  line. 

The  12th  Battalion  were  suddenly  ordered  up  to  this 
sector  of  the  front  on  September  1st.  On  the  way  up  they 
were  delayed  for  two  hours  in  Caterpillar  Valley  owing  to 
a  very  heavy  gas  barrage  and  the  guides  going  astray. 
Many  of  the  men  were  very  sick  from  the  effects  of  the 
gas,  and  it  was  only  at  3.30  a.m.  that  the  battalion  arrived 
in  Carlton  Trench,  which  lay  between  Delville  Wood  and 
High  Wood.  The  front  here  had  been  lifted  well  to  the 
north-east  since  the  20th  Battalion  had  left,  but  the  3rd 
Rifle  Brigade  and  the  2nd  Leinsters  were  very  much 
weakened  in  the  forward  positions.  No.  3  Company  was 
sent  up  on  the  1st  to  reinforce  the  3rd  Rifle  Brigade,  and 
on  the  following  day  a  platoon,  ten  bombers  and  one  Lewis 
gun  of  No.  1  Company  were  sent  to  the  2nd  Leinsters  in 
the  bombing  post  in  Worcester  Trench.  The  day  was  dull 
and  misty,  and  the  Germans  attacked  this  post  with  great 
determination,  but  were  repulsed,  though  the  Lewis  gun 
team  had  several  casualties.  Early  in  the  evening  the 
remainder  of  the  battalion  took  over  the  trench  held  by 
the  3rd  Rifle  Brigade,  and  on  the  following  day  co-operated 
in  the  general  attack  which  swept  over  Guillemont  into 
Ginchy.  The  24th  Division  was  represented  in  this  attack 
by  the  8th  Buffs. 

At  midday  the  whole  line  advanced.  The  sector  between 
High  Wood  and  Delville  Wood  was  obstinately  defended, 
and  the  Buffs  and  Fusiliers  could  make  little  impression 
on  it.  The  Buffs'  main  objective  was  the  strong  point  at 
the  junction  of  the  Wood  Lane  Trench  and  Tea  Trench, 
which  lay  at  the  north-west  corner  of  Delville  Wood. 
No.  4  Company,  under  Captain  Anderson,  bombed  up 
Wood  Lane  towards  the  strong  point ;  but  though  the 
Buffs  attacked  twice,  they  failed  to  reach  their  objective. 
The  artillery  preparation  had  not  been  sufficient  to  rub 
the  surface  off  the  opposition.  From  Orchard  Trench  the 
Fusilier  Lewis  guns  did  considerable  damage,  and  claimed 
to  have  caused  at  least  100  casualties.    But  this  was  the 


134     ROYAL   FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

only  success  achieved  on  this  small  sector,  and  the 
battalion  suffered  58  casualties,  10  killed.  They  were 
relieved  on  September  4th  and  went  south  to  Fricourt, 
and  later  left  the  Somme  area. 

Ginchy. — On  September  3rd  Ginchy  was  seized,  as 
well  as  Guillemont  ;  but  the  former  could  not  be  retained 
in  face  of  the  immediate  German  counter-attacks,  and 
after  three  days'  struggle  the  greater  part  of  the  village 
reverted  to  the  enemy.  Preparations  for  a  further  attack 
upon  Ginchy  continued  without  intermission,  and  at 
4.45  p.m.  on  September  9th  the  attack  was  reopened 
on  the  whole  of  the  Fourth  Army  front.  At  four  o'clock 
a  heavy  enemy  barrage  was  put  down  on  the  assembly 
trenches  of  the  4th  Londons  in  Leuze  Wood,  but  the 
battalion  went  forward  at  zero  in  six  waves.  In  little 
over  an  hour  the  battalion  captured  its  objectives  and 
pushed  out  two  advanced  posts  to  positions  overlooking 
Morval-Lesbceufs  road.  The  Rangers  were  not  in  touch 
on  the  left  flank,  and  a  strong  point  was  established ;  and 
during  the  night  the  advanced  posts  were  connected  up 
and  manned  by  Lewis  guns. 

Meanwhile  A  Company  of  the  2nd  Londons  had  been 
involved  in  the  attack  of  the  London  Rifle  Brigade 
further  east.  At  6  p.m.  this  regiment  called  upon  their 
support  company,  but  the  barrage  was  so  heavy  that 
A  Company  of  the  2nd  Londons  went  forward  instead. 
Taking  up  their  position  in  the  north-east  corner  of  Leuze 
Wood,  they  began  at  once  to  suffer  casualties.  They 
were  ordered  to  bomb  up  Combles  Trench.  Captain  J.  W. 
Long  and  Second  Lieutenant  E.  W.  Lockey  were  killed 
by  snipers,  and,  all  the  officers  becoming  casualties,  C.S.M. 
Pellow  took  over  the  command.  But  the  attack  failed. 
The  strength  of  the  company  had  been  weakened  too 
much.  The  attempt  of  B  Company  to  support  on  the 
following  day  similarly  failed  with  heavy  loss.  But  the 
two  battalions  had  contributed  to  the  very  considerable 
advance  of  their  (56th)  division. 

Flers. — The    ground    had    now    been    prepared    for 


ATTACK  WTIH  TANKS,   SEPTEMBER  15TH    135 

another  general  attack,  and  on  September  15th  "  The 
third  phase — Exploitation  of  Success  "  *  began.  "  Prac- 
tically the  whole  of  the  forward  crest  of  the  main  ridge  on 
a  front  of  some  9,000  yards  from  Delville  Wood  to  the  road 
above  Mouquet  Farm  was  now  in  our  hands,  and  with  it 
the  advantage  of  observation  over  the  slopes  beyond.  .  .  . 
The  general  plan  of  the  combined  Allied  attack  which  was 
opened  on  September  15th  was  to  pivot  on  the  high  ground 
south  of  the  Ancre  and  north  of  the  Albert-Bapaume  road, 
while  the  Fourth  Army  devoted  its  whole  effort  to  the 
rearmost  of  the  enemy's  original  systems  of  defence 
between  Morval  and  Le  Sars."  f  The  Royal  Fusiliers 
were  represented  in  this  advance,  the  greatest  that  had 
been  made  in  any  one  day  since  the  opening  of  the  offen- 
sive, by  the  26th  and  32nd  Battalions,  both  of  them  in  the 
124th  Brigade  of  the  41st  Division,  which  was  in  the  com- 
mand of  a  Royal  Fusilier,  General  Lawford ;  and  by  the 
2nd  Londons.  For  thirty-six  hours  the  positions  to  be 
attacked  had  been  prepared  by  a  continuous  bombard- 
ment, which  had,  as  usual,  battered  some  places  to  dust, 
but  had  left  intact  obstacles  that  might  have  wrecked 
the  plan.  To  deal  with  such  eventualities,  however,  the 
army  now  had  a  new  instrument,  the  tank,  which  made  its 
first  appearance  in  this  battle. 

For  the  26th  and  32nd  Battalions  it  was  their  first 
experience  of  battle.  They  had  only  been  in  France  four 
months,  but  both  of  them  created  an  excellent  precedent 
in  their  first  action.  Each  of  them  was  in  support,  the 
32nd  on  the  right  and  the  26th  on  the  left,  following  the 
10th  Queen's  R.W.S.  Regiment  and  the  21st  K.R.R.C. 
Three  tanks  were  allotted  to  the  brigade. 

At  6.20  a.m.  the  leading  waves  moved  off.  The  32nd, 
who  had  been  assembled  some  fifty  yards  inside  Delville 
Wood,  advanced  with  the  utmost  precision  with  the 
14th  Division  on  their  right.  The  barrage  was  followed 
very  closely,  and  the  battalion  met  with  little  resistance 

*  Despatch. 
f  Despatch. 


136    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

in  Tea  Support  Trench  and  Switch  Trench,  half-way  to 
Flers.  They  had  been  advancing  in  four  waves  originally, 
but  at  this  point  the  fourth  wave  was  left  behind  to  con- 
solidate, and  the  other  three  waves  became  mixed  up  with 
the  survivors  of  the  ioth  Queen's  and,  on  the  flanks,  with 
men  of  the  14th  Division  and  of  the  26th  Battalion,  who  had 
lost  direction.  When  Switch  Trench  had  been  won  the 
battalion  was  reduced  to  two  parties,  under  Captain  H.  A. 
Robinson  and  Lieutenant  W.  V.  Aston  respectively. 
Robinson  pushed  on  with  his  party,  about  80  strong, 
beyond  Flers,  capturing  three  field  guns,  five  Bavarian 
officers  and  about  40  other  ranks.  The  field  guns  were 
later  destroyed  by  the  Germans'  concentrated  artillery 
fire.  Aston's  party,  after  being  held  up  some  time  by 
machine  gun  fire,  advanced  with  a  tank  beyond  Flers. 
The  battalion  in  this  very  successful  advance  lost  10 
officers  (wounded)  and  283  other  ranks  killed,  wounded 
and  missing. 

The  26th  Battalion  advanced  with  the  32nd  against 
little  resistance,  but  in  the  early  part  of  the  action  the  left 
battalion  passed  through  our  own  barrage.  Captain 
Etchells  was  at  this  moment  senior  officer  on  the  left  of 
the  brigade  front,  and  he  promptly  and  coolly  reorganised 
the  line.  With  this  readjustment  the  troops  were  able  to 
advance  again.*  Later  in  the  morning  there  was  a  check 
on  the  brigade  front,  but  the  same  officer  went  forward  to 
a  tank  lying  south  of  Flers  and  arranged  that  the  26th 
would  follow  if  the  tank  would  lead.  This  arrangement 
was  carried  out.  The  tank  moved  along  the  south  side  of 
Flers,  assisting  the  troops  who  were  in  the  village  by  firing 
on  the  retreating  enemy  and  also  assisting  the  26th  to  get 
well  ahead.  In  the  late  afternoon  the  battalion  were 
north  and  east  of  the  village.  In  the  battle  the  26th  lost 
9  officers  (5  of  them  killed)  and  255  other  ranks  killed, 
wounded  and  missing.  The  losses  of  both  battalions, 
though  very  heavy  considering  the  numbers  involved, 
were  less  than  might  have  been  expected,  for  the  German 

*  Captain  Etchells  was  awarded  the  M.C.  for  this  service. 


ACTION   OF  SEPTEMBER  15TH  137 

artillery,  though  late  in  starting,  was  most  skilfully 
handled.  The  smallest  parties  moving  in  the  battle  zone 
at  once  became  a  target.  At  times  even  a  single  stretcher 
party  was  marked  down.  It  was  for  the  greatest  courage 
and  devotion  to  duty  under  these  conditions  that  the 
medical  officer  of  the  26th,  Lieutenant  J.  Mclntyre, 
R.A.M.C,  was  awarded  the  M.C.  He  was  four  times 
buried  by  shell  explosions,  but  each  time  recommenced 
his  work  of  attending  to  the  wounded. 

One  of  the  singular  points  about  this  action  is  that  the 
tanks  impressed  our  own  men  more  than  the  enemy, 
though  at  one  point  the  Fusiliers  were  amused  to  see  a 
panic  among  the  enemy,  who  caught  a  drift  of  a  tank's 
exhaust  fumes.  They  imagined  it  a  new  form  of  gas,  and 
attempted  to  adjust  their  gas  helmets  before  retiring. 

The  32nd  Battalion  were  relieved  on  the  morning  of 
the  16th,  but  one  company  of  the  26th  remained  at  the 
front  till  night,  when  they  followed  the  rest  of  the  battalion 
and  the  32nd  to  support  positions. 

*  *  *  * 

The  2nd  Londons  also  attacked  the  same  day.  Their 
objective  was  the  Loop  Trench,  connecting  the  sunken 
road  with  Combles  Trench.  C  and  D  Companies  attacked 
and  very  quickly  gained  all  their  objectives,  with  the 
exception  of  the  junction  of  the  sunken  road  and  Loop 
Trench.  Captain  A.  G.  L.  Jepson,  Lieutenant  P.  C. 
Taylor  and  Second  Lieutenant  A.  G.  Sullivan  were  killed, 
and  two  officers  were  wounded,  in  the  heavy  bombing 
attacks  against  the  captured  positions.  So  great  were  the 
losses  that  all  available  men  of  A  and  B  Companies  were 
sent  to  the  line  to  reinforce  before  three  o'clock.  Two 
blocks  had  been  established,  one  in  the  north  end  of  Loop 
Trench  and  the  other  in  Combles  Trench,  and  the  battalion 
bombers  were  sent  up  in  small  parties  to  assist  in  holding 
them.  But  they  also  suffered  heavy  loss,  and  reinforce- 
ments had  to  be  sent  by  another  regiment.  The  battalion 
held  their  positions  with  this  assistance,  and  they  were 
later  congratulated  by  General  Guignabaudit,  who,  com- 


138    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

manding  on  the  French  left,  had  watched  the  attack  from 
Savernake  Wood. 

Thiepval. — On  September  26th  the  nth  Battalion 
took  part  in  what  Sir  Ivor  Maxse  afterwards  described  as 
a  "  distinct  and  memorable  "  episode — the  capture  of 
Thiepval.  The  whole  of  the  54th  Brigade,  of  which  the 
battalion  formed  part,  was  allotted  only  300  yards  of 
frontage,  but  in  the  area  were  located  144  deep  German 
dug-outs,  in  addition  to  those  round  the  Chateau  Redoubt 
and  the  positions  in  the  original  front  line  along  which  the 
Fusiliers  had  to  advance.  This  line  was  the  western 
bastion  of  Thiepval,  and  for  nearly  three  months  the 
village  had  been  the  focus  of  the  stern  resistance  on  the 
left  flank  of  the  Somme  operations.  The  effect  of  the 
successful  action  on  the  25th  was  thought  to  justify  a 
rapid  following  up. 

At  12.35  p.m.,  D  Company,  under  Captain  R.  H.  V, 
Thompson,  advanced  against  the  German  positions.  The 
British  barrage  was  most  intense,  and  the  Germans,  taken 
by  surprise,  were  at  first  thrown  into  confusion.  "  We 
met  Bosches  running  about,  scared  out  of  their  wits,  like 
a  crowd  of  rabbits  diving  for  their  holes.  Men  were 
rushing  about  unarmed,  men  were  holding  up  their  hands 
and  yelling  for  mercy,  men  were  scuttling  about  every- 
where, trying  to  get  away  from  that  born  fighter,  the 
Cockney,  but  they  had  very  little  chance."  *  But  this 
applies  only  to  the  first  moments  of  the  assault.  D  Com- 
pany was  soon  checked  on  the  left,  at  the  junction  of 
Brawn  Trench  with  the  original  German  line.  At  this 
point,  about  250  yards  below  the  south-west  corner  of 
Thiepval  village,  the  company  was  held  up,  and  with  it 
the  left  flank  of  the  Middlesex  ;  but  Thompson  flung  part 
of  his  men  against  the  trench  and  led  the  rest  against  the 
strong  point  at  the  junction.  He  was  hit  in  the  head,  but 
kept  on  until  hit  again  and  killed  at  the  moment  that  the 
post  was  rushed.  He  was  one  of  the  best  company 
commanders  the  battalion  ever  had. 

*  Captain  Cornaby's  diary. 


ELEVENTH  BATTALION  AT  THIEPVAL    139 

In  the  hand-to-hand  fighting,  Lieutenant  R.  A.  Mall- 
Smith  was  also  killed,  and  Lieutenant  G.  A.  Cornaby  was 
wounded.  But  the  Fusiliers  killed  numbers  of  the  enemy 
and  took  25  prisoners.  They  then  continued  their 
advance  along  the  German  line,  fighting  their  way  yard 
by  yard.  Some  relief  was  obtained  by  posting  the  Lewis 
guns  so  as  to  fire  along  the  trench,  but  the  gun  team 
suffered  heavily.  About  200  yards  west  of  the  chateau 
another  strong  point  was  encountered,  and  there  followed 
a  protracted  encounter.  The  attack  was  assisted  by  the 
timely  appearance  of  a  tank,  which  also  checked  the  fire 
from  the  chateau,  and  so  helped  the  Middlesex.  D  Com- 
pany got  forward  north-west  of  the  chateau,  where 
Lance-Corporal  Tovey  (B  Company)  captured  a  machine 
gun  single-handed.     Such  was  the  position  about  1  p.m. 

A  Company,  under  Major  Hudson,  turned  to  support 
the  Middlesex  at  the  chateau,  and,  diverging  to  the  right, 
made  a  small  gap  in  the  line.  Captain  Johnson  promptly 
put  in  B  Company,  and  attacking  northwards,  gave  the 
last  touch  requisite  to  carry  the  first  objective.  This 
company  had  already  lost  two  officers,  all  but  three 
N.C.O.'s  and  half  the  men.  Major  Hudson  was  wounded 
in  the  shoulder  west  of  the  chateau,  but  continued  fighting 
until  the  final  line  was  won.  He  was  shot  through  the 
thigh  as  he  left  the  line  and  died  a  few  days  later. 

Colonel  Carr  went  forward  about  1.15  with  Captain 
Cumberledge,  the  Adjutant,  and  after  visiting  the  CO.  of 
the  Middlesex,  went  towards  D  Company.  He  was 
immediately  wounded  in  three  places,  and  as  Cumberledge 
and  Hudson  were  also  wounded,  Captain  Johnson  was  in 
command  until  the  evening,  when  Major  Meyricke,  the 
second  in  command,  took  over.  The  fighting  on  the 
Fusiliers'  left  was  full  of  incident.  Before  the  first  objec- 
tive had  been  won  they  had  cleared  twenty-five  dug-outs. 
Some  of  them  contained  large  bodies  of  men  provided  with 
bombs,  grenades  and  machine  guns.  One  very  deep  dug- 
out was  garrisoned  like  a  fortress,  and  the  men,  armed  w^th 
two  machine  guns,  refused  to  come  out.     The  Fusiliers 


140    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

had  to  set  it  on  fire.  Eleven  Germans  ran  out  and  were 
killed,  and  14  wounded  were  taken  prisoners.  Many  more 
probably  were  burned  to  death. 

C  Company,  in  command  of  Lieutenant  A.  E.  Sulman, 
had  gone  over  with  the  Middlesex  to  clear  up.  They  had 
a  vivid  time  and  were  successful  in  locating  the  German 
telephone  headquarters.  Sulman  was  given  a  German 
map,  and  quickly  realised  its  importance.  The  men  were 
set  to  look  for  the  place.  It  was  discovered  by  Lance- 
Corporal  F.  Rudy  *  with  four  men,  who  captured  it,  taking 
20  prisoners,  cut  the  wires,  and  so  severed  communication 
with  the  German  artillery.  Sulman  left  two  platoons  to 
assist  between  the  chateau  and  the  right  flank,  with  which 
he  went  forward.  His  company  enfiladed  numbers  of  the 
Germans  who  were  retiring  to  the  north  in  front  of  D  Com- 
pany. While  the  left  were  advancing  well  to  the  north 
of  the  chateau,  A  Company,  with  two  platoons  of  C, 
pushed  to  the  second  objective  and  established  a  position 
at  the  north-eastern  end  of  the  village.  The  Middlesex 
were  now  on  the  right,  a  considerable  deflection  from  the 
original  direction  of  advance. 

This  was  the  position  at  3  p.m.  ;  but  the  reports 
reaching  headquarters  were  largely  contradictory.  Most 
of  them  were  sent  by  N.C.O.'s,  as  the  officers  were  out  of 
action ;  and,  without  maps,  their  references  could  not  be 
expected  to  be  more  than  approximate.  Sulman,  with 
his  composite  party,  could  not  be  located.  By  4.30  p.m. 
the  position  was  cleared  up.  D,  B,  and  part  of  A  Com- 
pany were  still  holding  their  position  north  of  the  chateau, 
and  north-west  of  the  mass  of  the  village.  There  was  a 
gap  of  100  yards  between  this  position  and  Sulman's 
flanking  platoons,  which  were  disposed  diagonally  across 
the  village  on  a  line  facing  north-west.  Two  other 
platoons  of  C  and  part  of  A  were  on  the  second  objective 
beyond  the  north-east  end  of  the  village.  The  Fusiliers 
had  not  a  bomb  left  ;  they  were  perilously  short  of 
ammunition,  and  their  numbers  were  dangerously  weak. 

*  He  was  awarded  the  D.C.M.  for  this  serviceable  achievement. 


CAPTURE  OF  THIEPVAL  141 

The  left  was  still  under  constant  attack  ;  sometimes  as 
many  as  twenty  German  stick  bombs  were  in  the  air  at 
the  same  moment. 

Captain  Johnson  reported  his  position  to  Colonel 
Maxwell  (Middlesex) ,  who  was  in  chief  command,  and  a 
company  of  Northants  was  sent  to  him  to  fill  the  gap 
between  his  right  and  left,  and  to  reduce  the  strong  point 
which  held  up  the  further  advance  of  the  left.  The 
attack  proved  a  failure,  and  at  5.45  p.m.  Captain  Johnson 
was  ordered  to  dig  in  on  his  present  line  and  connect  his 
right  and  left.  The  Fusiliers,  Middlesex  and  Northants 
were  then  collected  and  the  position  organised,  a  stranded 
tank  making  the  nucleus  of  a  strong  advanced  post.  On 
the  left  fighting  continued  till  n  p.m.,  and  the  Fusiliers 
suffered  heavy  casualties,  until  a  barrage  forced  the 
Germans  to  retire  northwards.  "  Thiepval,"  wrote  Lieut.- 
General  C.  W.  Jacobs,  the  Commander  of  the  Second  Corps, 
'  has  withstood  all  attacks  upon  it  for  exactly  two  years." 
All  but  the  north-west  corner  of  the  village  had  been  taken 
in  less  than  six  hours.  At  4  a.m.  the  Bedfords  arrived, 
and  Captain  Johnson  and  Lieutenant  Sulman  were  ordered 
to  put  them  in  attack  formation  in  front  of  the  line.  This 
was  done,  and  at  dawn  they  carried  the  north-west  corner 
of  the  village  in  a  dashing  attack.  The  Fusiliers  then  left 
the  line.  They  had  suffered  very  heavily,  but  they  had 
achieved  much.  Captain  Johnson  and  Lieutenant  Sulman 
were  each  awarded  the  M.C. 

Private  F.  J.  Edwards,  of  the  Middlesex,  was  awarded 
the  V.C.  for  "  one  of  those  decisive  actions  which  deter- 
mine the  success  or  failure  of  an  operation.  His  part  of 
the  line  was  held  up  by  a  machine  gun.  The  officers  had 
all  become  casualties.  There  was  confusion,  and  even  a 
suggestion  of  retirement.  Private  Edwards  grasped  the 
situation  at  once.  Alone,  and  on  his  own  initiative,  he 
dashed  towards  the  gun,  which  he  bombed  until  he 
succeeded  in  knocking  it  out.  By  this  gallant  act, 
performed  with  great  presence  of  mind,  and  with  complete 
disregard  for  his  personal  safety,  this  man  made  possible 


142     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

the  continuance  of  the  advance  and  solved  a  dangerous 
situation."  Private  Edwards  was  transferred  to  the 
Royal  Fusiliers  on  April  13th,  1918,  and  was  taken 
prisoner  eleven  days  later. 

*  *  *  * 

The  nth  Battalion  was  in  the  line  again  on  October 
23rd,  and  the  plan  at  that  time  was  for  it  to  attack  Petit 
Miraumont.  "  For  this  attack  the  assaulting  battalions 
of  the  brigade  were  to  have  been  the  Fusiliers  and  the 
Bedfordshire  Regiment.  The  weather  was  awful,  and 
the  mud  beyond  words.  Fortunately,  the  attack  did  not 
come  off.  If  it  had,  it  must  have  been  a  colossal  failure. 
The  first  objective  was,  I  believe,  1,700  yards  away,  and 
in  that  mud,  and  after  going  that  distance,  the  men 
would  have  been  dead-beat.  The  brigade  was  to  go  on 
to  the  Ancre,  cross  the  river,  which  was  in  flood  and 
about  300  yards  wide,  and  hold  the  crossings  for  the 
53rd  Brigade  to  go  through.  It  was  seriously  suggested 
that  trees  might  be  felled  across  the  Ancre,  and  the  men 
might  cross  on  them."  *  The  battalion  went  into  the 
line  three  or  four  times,  but  each  time  the  attack  was 
postponed.  It  rained  nearly  every  day.  "  The  men 
were  soaked  to  the  skin  with  liquid  mud  for  days  on  end, 
and  after  ration-carrying  fatigues  were  dead-beat.  It 
was  a  long  carry,  and  the  mud  was  appalling.  .  .  .  The 
sick  rate  in  the  battalions  at  this  time  was  the  worst  I 
have  ever  known.  One  morning  each  battalion  in  the 
brigade  had  over  150  sick,  and  one  had  nearly  250."  * 

Bayonet  Trench. — "  These  conditions  multiplied  the 
difficulties  of  attack  to  such  an  extent  that  it  was  found 
impossible  to  exploit  the  situation  with  the  rapidity 
necessary  to  enable  us  to  reap  the  full  benefits  of  the 
advantages  we  had  gained."  f  They  also  explain  the 
inconclusive  character  of  much  of  the  fighting  between 
the  capture  of  Thiepval  and  the  Battle  of  the  Ancre.  In 
one  of  these  attacks  four  Fusilier  battalions  fought  side 

*  A  Fusilier  officer's  account. 
t   Despatch. 


ATTACK  ON  OCTOBER  7TH  143 

by  side.  The  Fourth  Army  operated  along  the  whole 
front  from  Les  Bceufs  to  Destremont  Farm  in  support 
of  the  French  advance  on  Sailly-Saillisel.  The  front  upon 
which  the  Royal  Fusiliers  were  engaged  stretched,  roughly, 
between  the  road  running  from  High  Wood  to  Le  Barque 
and  the  road  running  north  from  Gueudecourt,  the  26th 
and  9th  Battalions  being  on  the  extreme  left  and  right 
respectively.  Before  them  lay  a  network  of  trenches  and 
strong  posts  forming  the  outer  defences  of  Ligny-Thilloy. 

The  8th  and  9th  Battalions  on  this  occasion  suffered 
very  heavy  losses,  and  did  not  reach  their  objectives. 
When  the  attack  began  at  1.45  p.m.  on  October  7th 
everything,  from  advanced  headquarters,  appeared  to  go 
well.  Within  half  an  hour  reports  came  back  that  this 
was  the  case,  but  in  an  hour  it  was  known  that  even  the 
first  objective,  Bayonet  Trench,  had  not  been  reached. 
The  German  positions  were  found  to  be  held  in  great 
strength,  and  it  was  later  discovered  that  the  attack  had 
coincided  with  a  relief.  The  artillery  and  machine  gun 
fire  were  too  heavy,  and  the  front  companies  were  mowed 
down.  The  9th  alone  had  15  officer  casualties,  and  about 
250  other  ranks.  They  mustered,  on  relief,  144,  with 
B  Company  reduced  to  12.  The  8th  had  9  officer 
casualties  and  244  other  ranks.  Each  of  these  battalions 
received  from  General  Boyd  Moss  the  following  message  : 
"  Will  you  please  thank  all  ranks  of  your  battalion  for 
the  magnificent  gallantry  they  displayed  yesterday. 
They  advanced  steadily  under  a  heavy  fire  which  only 
the  very  best  troops  could  have  faced.  Though  unfortu- 
nately unsuccessful,  their  gallant  conduct  has  added  to 
the  fine  reputation  which  you  have  already  won  for 
yourselves." 

The  26th  and  32nd  Battalions,  attacking  at  the  same 
time,  fared  no  better.  Despite  all  gallantry,  no  appre- 
ciable headway  was  made.  Each  of  the  four  battalions 
was  at  this  time  much  under  strength,  and  went  into 
battle  considerably  less  than  two  companies  strong, 
although  organised  as  four.     From  first  to  last  the  26th 


144    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

only  advanced  about  300  yards  ;  but  the  position  could 
not  be  maintained,  and  their  casualties  were  14  officers 
and  240  other  ranks.  Insufficient  preparation  and 
support,  reduced  strength  and  the  terrible  state  of  the 
ground,  had  proved  too  heavy  a  handicap  for  units  who 
had  each  performed  excellent  service  before.  Major 
Coxhead  (9th  Battalion)  noted  the  state  of  the  roads  was 
so  bad  that  the  transport  took  three  hours  and  a  quarter 
to  traverse  the  five  miles  to  Becordel. 

The  20th  Battalion  had  a  tour  in  the  trenches  north 
of  Morval  in  the  last  week  of  October,  and  suffered  75 
casualties,  including  five  officers.  They  then  moved  into 
trenches  to  the  north  of  Les  Bceufs,  and  on  November  6th, 
after  three  attempts,  established  a  bombing  post  about 
midway  between  that  village  and  Le  Transloy.  In  this 
small  action  they  had  about  100  casualties.  So  the  month 
wore  on  to  the  13th,  when  the  Battle  of  the  Ancre  was 
fought. 

The  Battle  of  the  Ancre. — In  this  action,  which  in 
duration  was  only  comparable  to  one  of  the  many  battles 
embraced  under  the  general  title  of  the  Battle  of  the 
Somme,  eight  battalions  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  were 
involved,  though  one  of  them,  the  4th,  was  in  brigade 
reserve,  and  remained  in  the  same  position  in  Sackville 
Street,  opposite  Serre,  all  day,  as  the  assaulting  brigades 
did  not  reach  their  objective.  The  front  of  attack  had 
a  bad  history,  for  it  was  here  that  several  divisions 
attacked  in  vain,  and  suffered  heavy  loss,  on  July  1st. 
The  situation  on  November  13th  was  very  different. 
The  gains  south  of  the  Ancre  had  placed  the  troops  in  a 
position  to  take  the  German  positions  north  of  the  river 
in  enfilade.  On  the  other  hand,  "  the  enemy's  defences 
in  this  area  were  already  formidable  when  they  resisted 
our  assault  on  July  1st,  and  the  succeeding  period  of 
four  months  had  been  spent  in  improving  and  adding  to 
them  in  the  light  of  the  experience  he  had  gained  in  the 
course  of  our  attacks  further  south ;  .  .  .  the  villages  of 
Beaucourt-sur-Ancre  and  Beaumont  Hamel,  like  the  rest 


BATTLE  OF   THE  ANCRE,  NOVEMBER   13TH    145 

of  the  villages  forming  part  of  the  enemy's  original  front 
in  this  district,  were  evidently  intended  by  him  to  form 
a  permanent  line  of  fortification.  .  .  .  Realising  that  his 
position  in  them  had  become  a  dangerous  one,  the  enemy 
had  multiplied  the  number  of  his  guns  covering  this  part 
of  the  line.  .  .  ."  * 

The  Germans,  indeed,  were  confident  that  they  had 
neutralised  the  disadvantages  of  the  approach  from  the 
south  by  their  new  precautions,  and  General  Ludendorff 
described  the  victory  of  the  Ancre  as  "  a  particularly 
heavy  blow,  for  we  considered  such  an  event  no  longer 
possible."  f  But  it  is  obvious  that  the  tip  of  the  salient, 
created  by  the  Somme  advance,  was  highly  vulnerable, 
and  it  was  there  that  the  greatest  successes  were  won. 
The  preliminary  bombardment  had  lasted  two  whole  days, 
with  bursts  of  great  intensity,  and  at  5.45  a.m.  on  Novem- 
ber 13th  it  developed  into  a  very  effective  barrage. 

On  the  northern  flank  of  the  attack,  as  we  have  seen, 
the  4th  Battalion  remained  undisturbed  the  whole  day, 
so  little  had  the  attack  succeeded  on  that  sector.  The 
wire  was  insufficiently  cut  and  the  ground  too  sodden. 
Four  other  Fusilier  battalions  belonged  to  the  2nd  Division, 
which  lay  north  of  Beaumont  Hamel,  between  the  3rd  and 
51st  Divisions.  The  24th  Battalion  alone  took  part  in 
the  initial  advance.  As  the  left  battalion  of  the  5th 
Brigade  their  flank  was  influenced  by  the  failure  further 
north.  At  5.15  a.m.  the  attacking  companies  left  the 
trenches  in  a  dense  fog,  reformed  in  No  Man's  Land,  and 
moved  forward  with  the  general  advance  at  5.45  a.m. 
The  barrage  was  followed  closely,  the  men  being  within 
20  yards  of  it  over  the  whole  battalion  front.  Some 
shells,  indeed,  fell  short  and  caused  casualties,  but  the 
men  followed  coolly  at  a  walking  pace  into  the  German 
front  line  trenches,  and  a  numerous  dug-out  popula- 
tion emerged  to  surrender.  The  troops  went  on,  and  at 
6.15  had  taken  the  major  part  of  their  objective,  the  Green 

*  Despatch. 

f  "  My  War  Memories,"  Vol.  I    p   290. 


146    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

line — the  German  third  line  system.  C  and  D  Companies 
were  cleaning  up  the  trenches.  It  was  early  realised  that 
the  assault  on  the  left  flank  had  been  unsuccessful,  and  all 
trenches  leading  north  were  blocked.  This  advance,  though 
not  spectacular,  was  useful  in  the  general  scheme  of  things  ; 
and  it  had  not  been  achieved  without  considerable  losses. 
On  the  14th  the  battalion's  positions  were  taken  over  by 
the  supporting  battalion,  the  2nd  Oxford  and  Bucks. 

On  the  left  of  the  24th  the  2nd  Highland  Infantry  had 
advanced,  and  the  17th  Royal  Fusiliers,  as  the  supporting 
battalion,  had  passed  through,  and  with  the  2nd  Oxford 
and  Bucks  had  attempted  to  advance  from  the  German 
third  line  to  Munich  Trench  and  Frankfort  Trench.  At 
10  a.m.  the  third  German  line  was  strongly  held,  and  four 
companies  of  the  17th  Battalion,  now  reduced  to  a  total 
strength  of  180,  were  well  to  the  east.  They  had  met  with 
a  heavy  enfilade  fire  owing  to  the  units  on  the  left  of  the 
5th  Brigade  being  held  up.  Some  parties  of  the  Fusiliers 
with  the  Oxfords  and  Bucks  had  penetrated  into  Munich 
Trench,  but  could  not  maintain  themselves.  After 
10.30  a.m.  the  front  line  was  reorganised  with  the  battalion 
holding  Crater  Lane  Trench,  a  line  that  was  apparently 
further  east  than  any  other  north  of  the  Ancre  held  by  our 
troops.*  Later  in  the  day  the  line  of  Wagon  Road  was 
also  held.  At  4.30  p.m.  the  Germans  counter-attacked 
the  advanced  positions  and  attempted  to  work  across  the 
battalion's  front  towards  Beaumont-Hamel,  lying  to  the 
south-west.  Artillery  support  was  called  for  and  the 
attack  was  not  pressed.  The  17th  lost  187  in  their  advance, 
including  Lieutenant  E.  P.  Hallowes,  Second  Lieutenants 
K.  W.  Hamilton,  G.  C.  Levon,  C.  W.  Taylor,  R.  Davison, 
R.  Pearce  and  H.  J.  Riches  wounded.  Munich  Trench, 
reached  but  not  held  by  the  battalion,  was  attacked  by 
other  troops  f  on  the  14th  and  by  another  division  on  the 
15th,  but  without  success. 

*  There  was,  of  course,  a  small  party  outside  Beaucourt,  still  farther 
east. 

t  The  1st  Royal  Rifles  and  the  1st  Berks,  with  the  23rd  Royal 
Fusiliers  in  support. 


BATTLE  OF  THE  ANCRE,  NOVEMBER  13TH     147 

The  22nd  and  23rd  Battalions,  belonging  to  the  99th 
Brigade,  who  were  in  reserve,  found  themselves  committed 
to  the  support  of  the  unsuccessful  left  flank  of  the  Ancre 
attack.  The  22nd  went  up  to  form  a  defensive  flank  to 
the  5th  Brigade,  but  such  were  the  difficulties  that  this 
object  was  not  achieved  until  9  a.m.  on  November  14th. 
But  when  the  line  was  once  taken  up  it  was  firmly  held, 
despite  a  persistent  and  very  accurate  shell  fire  throughout 
the  day.  It  was  nervous  and  wasting  work,  but  the 
battalion  bore  it  so  well  that,  on  the  15th,  they  were  able 
to  leap  forward  and  seize  the  Quadrilateral.  They  were 
reinforced  by  the  4th  Battalion,  who  crossed  the  open  and 
shell-swept  ground  with  only  8  casualties.  The  position 
was  consolidated  and  held  till  7  a.m.  on  the  16th,  when 
the  battalion  was  relieved. 

At  10  a.m.  on  the  morning  of  the  13th  A  and  C  Com- 
panies of  the  23rd  Battalion  had  been  placed  under  the 
orders  of  the  G.O.C.  5th  Brigade,  and  about  5  p.m.  they 
were  sent  to  support  the  2nd  Highland  Light  Infantry  in 
the  third  German  line.  They  were  then  in  the  rear  of  the 
17th  Battalion  and  on  the  right  of  the  24th.  B  and  D 
Companies  had  been  lent  to  the  6th  Brigade,  and  at  7  p.m. 
they  succeeded  in  canying  the  front  forward  to  the  second 
German  line.  The  whole  battalion  supported  the  unsuc- 
cessful attack  on  Munich  Trench  by  the  1st  Royal  Rifles 
and  1st  Berks,  on  the  14th.  The  2nd  Division's  advance, 
considerable  on  the  right  and  gradually  lessening  on  the 
left,  owed  not  a  little  to  these  four  Fusilier  battalions. 

Another  Fusilier  battalion  which  took  part  in  the  battle 
of  the  Ancre  on  November  13th  was  the  7th.  This  unit 
formed  part  of  the  190th  Brigade  of  the  63rd  (Naval) 
Division,  which  was  engaged  immediately  north  of  the 
river.  At  5.45  a.m.  C  and  D  Companies  advanced  with 
the  H.A.C.  on  their  right.  On  their  left  was  the  redoubt 
which,  for  the  whole  of  the  day,  made  a  deep  salient  in  the 
British  position.  Both  of  the  leading  companies  met  with 
heavy  rifle  and  machine  gun  fire.  The  first  two  waves  of 
C  were  held  up  by  the  remains  of  the  German  wire,  and 

L  2 


148     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

after  losing  heavily  returned  to  the  starting  point.    There, 

in  our  front  line,  were  the  second  two  waves  and  about 

60  men  from  other  battalions.     It  was  so  foggy  that  no 

one  could  see  what  was  actually  happening,  and  Captains 

Foster  and  Clarke  decided  to  make  another  advance  with 

all  the  men  in  the  trench.     The  men  came  again  under 

heavy   fire,    and   all   the   platoon   commanders — Second 

Lieutenant    W.    Ford,    Second    Lieutenant    St.    Aubyn, 

Second   Lieutenant    Bouchier   and   Sergeant    Cookson — 

became  casualties.     Nevertheless,  the  German  front  line 

was  rushed  in  five  minutes.    In  it  were  found  20  German 

dead,  and  one  officer  and  50  men  surrendered.    A  machine 

gun  was  also  captured.    The  trench  line  was  consolidated 

and  blocked  against  the  German  strong  point,  and  the 

company  remained  there  until  ordered  to  proceed  to  the 

Green  line.     Sergeant  Bright  with  three  Lewis  guns  and 

13  men  was  left  to  hold  up  the  German  strong  point.    The 

Green  line  was  reached  with  little  loss  except  from  snipers 

and  was  held  till  about  9  p.m.,  when,  on  relief  by  the  H.A.C., 

they  went  back  to  the  German  front  line.    D  Company, 

in  the  meantime,  had  made  three  attempts  to  advance,  the 

last  with  the  elements  of  several  other  battalions,  and  had 

failed  to  make  headway  against  the  German  rifle  and 

machine  gun  fire.     At  the  end  of  the  third  attack  the 

company  was  reduced  to  50,  and  Captain  Rattigan  decided 

to  hold  on  where  he  was  in  front  of  the  German  wire.    They 

remained   in   this   position   for   four   and   a  half  hours- 

During  this  time  Captain  Rattigan  was  killed,  and  Second 

Lieutenant  Downing,  finding  a  mine  shaft  leading  back, 

went  down  it,  reported  to  battalion  headquarters  and  was 

ordered  to  bring  the  remains  of  the  company  back  to  the 

British  front  line. 

Sergeant  Bright  held  up  the  German  strong  point  all 
day.  He  was  not  a  little  assisted  by  the  supply  of  German 
bombs  found  in  the  trench,  and  by  Private  Hawkesley, 
who  daringly  lay  out  along  the  parapet  with  a  Lewis  gun. 
Captain  Goddard,  of  B  Company,  took  over  this  post  at 
3  p.m.,   and  the  captured  trench  was  organised.     The 


BATTLE  OF  THE  ANCRE,  NOVEMBER  14TH     149 

battalion  was  reorganised  about  2  a.m.  on  November  14th, 
and  at  6  a.m.  the  Fusiliers  attacked  once  more.  It  was 
at  this  point  that  the  7th  Battalion  came  into  contact 
with  the  13th  Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  attacked 
between  the  13th  Rifle  Brigade  and  the  13th  King's  Royal 
Rifle  Corps.  The  13th  moved  off  a  little  too  eagerly  and 
suffered  some  casualties  from  our  own  barrage.  They 
withdrew  50  yards  and  then  resumed  the  advance  under 
a  harassing  machine  gun  fire  from  Beaucourt  village. 
A  strong  point  on  the  left  flank  resisted  with  great  deter- 
mination, and  the  13th  Rifle  Brigade  were  to  the  rear  of 
the  13th  Royal  Fusiliers  when  the  first  objective  was 
taken.  Meanwhile,  Captain  Goddard,  with  the  7th,  had 
amalgamated  the  battalion's  two  waves,  and  after  one 
and  a  half  hours'  shelling  of  the  final  objective,  advanced 
and  took  it  without  much  opposition.  He  had  turned 
to  the  right  and  with  elements  of  the  13th  Battalion,  the 
13th  K.R.R.C,  and  the  H.A.C.,  consolidated  the  right 
flank  on  the  bank  of  the  Ancre,  south-east  of  Beaucourt, 
which  had  fallen  a  little  earlier  to  the  charge  of  Freyberg's 
force. 

Up  to  this  point  the  position  on  the  left  of  the  13th 
Battalion  still  caused  trouble.  Most  of  the  casualties 
suffered  by  the  7th  in  their  advance  to  the  final  objective 
had  come  from  this  quarter,  and  the  13th  remained  on 
the  first  line  captured.  But  the  10th  Battalion,  who,  like 
the  13th,  belonged  to  the  inth  Brigade,  had  had  the 
pleasant  experience  of  co-operating  with  a  tank  in  the 
reduction  of  the  German  redoubt  which  had  held  up  the 
centre  of  the  63rd  Division.  The  mere  appearance  of  the 
tank  seems  to  have  been  sufficient,  and  without  firing  a 
shot  the  10th  Battalion  took  270  German  prisoners,*  and 
three  machine  guns.  They  also  liberated  60  British 
prisoners  who  had  been  well  treated,  but  were  naturally 
glad  to  get  back  to  their  own  army.  The  7th  Battalion 
passed  from  this  area  and  the  13th  did  not  figure  again  in 
the  battle.     The   former  had  attacked  22   officers  and 

*  Eight  hundred  prisoners  in  all  were  taken  from  this  redoubt. 


150     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

629  other  ranks  strong.  They  lost  13  officers  and  331 
other  ranks,  more  than  half  the  total  strength.  The 
casualties  of  the  13th  were  8  officers  (including  Lieut. - 
Colonel  Ardagh,  wounded)  and  130  other  ranks.  But  the 
victory  was  complete.  It  was  a  great  blow  to  German 
prestige,  and  it  made  an  important  improvement  in  the 
British  positions. 

*  *  *  * 

There  were  still  some  local  operations  in  this  area  before 
the  battle  died  down  and  a  final  line  could  be  organised 
for  winter.  The  10th  Battalion  took  a  prominent  part 
in  these  attempts  to  round  off  the  gains  of  the  first  three 
days.  Part  of  the  final  line  still  remained  in  German 
hands.  The  13th  Battalion,  on  the  morning  of  the  14th, 
had  been  held  up  by  opposition  on  its  left,  and  patrols 
sent  out  failed  even  to  locate  the  objective.  Muck  Trench, 
as  it  was  called,  continued  to  lure  the  111th  Brigade,  and 
the  10th  Battalion  attacked  at  dawn  on  November  16th 
with  the  object  of  capturing  it.  They  were  beaten  back 
by  intense  machine  gun  fire.  In  the  afternoon  two 
bombing  parties  attempted  to  get  forward  and  actually 
reached  the  trench,  but  they  were  promptly  attacked  by 
superior  forces  and  compelled  to  retire.  Lieutenant  R. 
Stephenson  was  killed  on  this  occasion.  The  German 
barrage  prevented  a  third  attempt,  but  Second  Lieutenant 
Ground  succeeded  in  establishing  two  posts  in  the  trench 
on  the  left  before  dusk,  and  two  others  were  established 
during  the  night  by  Second  Lieutenant  Bainb ridge. 
These  posts  were  reinforced  and  organised.  But  during 
the  night  of  the  17th  the  machine  gun  team  in  the  trench 
was  shelled  and  almost  wiped  out.  At  6.10  a.m.  on  the 
18th  the  battalion  attacked  on  the  right  of  the  32nd 
Division  and  stormed  all  its  objectives  but  one.  Unfortu- 
nately these  gains  had  to  be  abandoned  owing  to  the 
failure  of  the  right  of  the  32nd  Division.  On  November 
19th  the  10th  delivered  yet  another  attack.  Two  patrols, 
under  Second  Lieutenants  Bainbridge  and  Hey  wood, 
respectively,  reached  the  objective,  but  were  compelled 


END  OF  THE  BATTLE  OF  THE  SOMME     151 

to  withdraw.  During  the  night  the  battalion  was  relieved 
after  an  extraordinary  exhibition  of  tenacity  of  purpose. 
The  most  important  and  most  spectacular  achievement 
of  the  Fusiliers  in  the  battle  of  the  Ancre  was  the  capture 
of  the  redoubt  which  had  almost  brought  the  advance  to 
a  standstill.  But  it  was  the  least  difficult  task,  and  the 
10th,  who  accomplished  it,  did  more  distinguished  service 
in  the  following  days,  though  their  repeated  attacks  merely 
served  to  secure  a  few  points  of  tactical  importance. 


CHAPTER  VIII 

THE  GERMAN  RETREAT  AND  THE  BATTLE  OF  ARRAS 

The  Battle  of  the  Somme,  which  had  formed  a  more 
critical  episode  for  the  Germans  than  was  at  the  time 
appreciated,  had  obviously  gravely  weakened  them,  and 
Sir  Douglas  Haig  felt  that  it  was  desirable  to  allow  them 
no  respite  during  the  winter.  There  was  consequently 
little  rest  either  in  the  Somme  area  or  beyond  it.  The 
mere  routine  of  trench  occupation  at  this  period  involved 
much  more  than  mere  alertness.  The  movements  and 
disposition  of  troops  were  carefully  watched  by  means 
of  repeated  raids.  One  of  these  may  be  mentioned  for  a 
singular  coolness  that  marked  its  execution. 

The  26th  Battalion  were  in  the  line  towards  the  north 
of  the  Wytschaete  Ridge.  On  December  15th,  1916, 
Lieutenant  C.  R.  W.  Jenkins  took  a  patrol  to  the  German 
front  line  trench  in  order  to  secure  identifications.  Leav- 
ing a  corporal  on  the  parapet,  he  went  into  the  trench 
alone,  and,  meeting  two  German  sentries,  promptly  shot 
one  ;  but  the  other  ran  back  and  gave  the  alarm.  Jenkins, 
seeing  how  things  were  shaping,  jumped  out  of  the  trench, 
but,  after  waiting  a  few  minutes,  returned  and  took  the 
desired  identifications  from  the  body  of  the  sentry  he 
had  shot.  For  this  act  of  coolness  and  courage  he  was 
awarded  the  M.C.  But  the  night  was  not  yet  over. 
About  11.30  a  party  of  Germans  raided  the  battalion's 
front  line,  and  a  number  of  men  who  were  out  attending 
to  the  wire  were  caught  in  the  barrage.  The  Germans 
got  into  the  front  line,  and  there  Private  H.  Jones,  though 
isolated,  continued  to  handle  his  machine  gun  to  such 
effect  that  the  raiding  party  were  beaten  off.  He  was 
awarded  the  D.C.M.,   and  Lieutenant  M.  B.  Maude  won 


WINTER    RAIDS  153 

the  M.C.  for  his  persistent  courage  in  helping  to  bring 
back  the  men  who  had  been  caught  in  the  German  barrage. 
The  mud  dragged  his  boots  off,  and  his  feet  were  badly 
torn  by  the  wire,  but  he  continued  to  help  until  the  work 
was  done. 

There  were  many  similar  incidents  on  other  parts  of 
the  front.  Just  north  of  Loos  a  more  elaborate  raid  was 
carried  out  in  broad  daylight  on  January  26th  by  the  12th 
Battalion,  in  conjunction  with  the  8th  Buffs.  Of  the 
Fusiliers  4  officers  and  100  other  ranks  were  engaged.  The 
German  front  and  support  lines  were  reached,  machine 
gun  emplacements  were  destroyed,  dug-outs  were  bombed, 
many  Germans  were  killed  and  16  were  taken  prisoner. 
The  German  barrage  on  No  Man's  Land  and  the  Fusiliers' 
front  and  communicating  trenches  was  accurately  placed- 
All  the  officers  were  wounded.  Lieutenant  Murless  died 
on  February  8th,  and  Second  Lieutenant  A.  E.  Hughes 
was  severely  hurt.  There  were  24  other  ranks  casualties. 
The  British  communique  of  February  1st  included  *  the 
12th  Battalion  among  those  who  had  specially  distin- 
guished themselves  during  January  ;  and  they  were  also 
warmly  congratulated  by  the  Army  Commander. 

Many,  too,  were  the  deaths  which  had  no  obvious 
savour  of  heroism  about  them.  Such  was  the  death  of 
Captain  R.  L.  Roscoe,  M.C,  who  was  mortally  wounded 
on  February  3rd  during  his  sleep  in  the  company  head- 
quarter's  post  (Courcelette  Sector).  He  was  only  nine- 
teen years  of  age  and  one  of  the  22nd  Battalion's  most 
efficient  officers.  Two  days  later  the  22nd  Battalion 
carried  out  with  the  Berks  a  successful  bombing  raid. 
The  men  wore  white  overalls,  and  guns  and  hats  were 
whitened.  The  ground  was  covered  with  snow,  and  the 
raiders  brought  back  57  Germans  at  a  very  light  cost. 

A  more  important  series  of  incidents  from  the  point  of 
view  of  the  German  retreat  was  that  which  began  with  a 
raid  by  A  Company  of  the  nth  Battalion  on  the  night 
of  February  10th.     Second  Lieutenants  B.  G.  Sampson 

*  Only  eighteen  battalions  were  thus  mentioned. 


154    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

and  B.  P.  Webster  led  the  platoons  in  an  attack  on  a 
German  strong  point  between  Miraumont  Road  and 
Sixteen  Road.  The  position  was  captured,  but  the  Ger- 
mans concentrated  a  very  heavy  machine  gun  and  gre- 
nade fire  on  the  garrison.  Both  officers  and  the  N.C.O.'s 
became  casualties,  and  the  Germans  recovered  the 
position  in  a  violent  counter-attack.  The  few  remaining 
men  were  compelled  to  retire.  The  battalion  was  relieved, 
but  after  a  few  days  out  of  the  line  moved  up  once  more 
for  the  first  concerted  action  of  the  year  1917.  The 
object  of  this  attack  was  to  carry  our  line  forward  along 
the  spur  which  runs  northward  from  the  main  Morval- 
Thiepval  Ridge  about  Courcelette,  and  so  gain  possession 
of  the  high  ground  on  its  northern  extremity.  This 
would  give  us  the  command  of  the  approaches  to  Pys 
and  Miraumont  from  the  south,  and  observation  over  the 
upper  valley  of  the  Ancre  and  its  concealed  batteries. 
While  immediately  regarding  Pys  and  Miraumont,  the 
operations  were  also  designed  to  weaken  the  defences  of 
Serre,  which  these  batteries  supported. 

Boom  Ravine. — The  three  divisions  engaged  all  con- 
tained battalions  of  Royal  Fusiliers  ;  but  the  7th  Batta- 
lion, in  the  63rd  Division,  was  not  called  upon.  On  the 
right  of  the  63rd  Division,  and  south  of  the  Ancre,  lay  the 
18th  Division,  with  the  2nd  Division  on  its  right.  The 
nth  Battalion  (18th  Division)  was  the  left  assaulting 
battalion  of  the  54th  Brigade,  and  their  role  was  to  advance 
from  in  front  of  Desire  Trench  to  South  Miraumont  Trench, 
crossing  Grandcourt  Trench  and  the  deep  sunken  road 
called  Boom  Ravine — a  name  which  the  Fusiliers  and  the 
brigade  always  associate  with  the  action.  A  thaw  had 
just  set  in.  The  night  was  dark  and  misty.  In  fine,  all 
the  conditions  were  against  the  attack  ;  but  the  wire  was 
cut,  and  forming-up  lines  taped  in  the  forming-up  place, 
the  Gully,  during  the  night.  The  assembling  place  was 
very  crowded  at  4.45  a.m.  on  February  17th,  and,  unfor- 
tunately, the  Germans  had  discovered  the  plan  in  detail. 
A  heavy  barrage  was  opened  upon  the  Gully  just  before 


BOOM   RAVINE,   FEBRUARY   17U1,  1917    155 

zero  and  the  Fusiliers  suffered  very  heavily.  It  was  rain- 
ing, pitch  dark,  the  Gully  was  slippery  with  mud  and 
packed  with  troops.  Such  an  ordeal,  gallantly  over- 
come, speaks  volumes  for  the  spirit  and  discipline  of  the 
troops  ;  for  the  Fusiliers  leapt  forward  at  zero  as  though 
no  hour  of  horror  had  preceded  it. 

At  zero  only  Captain  Morton  and  Captain  Colles  Sandes, 
of  the  officers  of  A  and  B  Companies  respectively  re- 
mained un wounded.  At  5.45  came  the  barrage  and  the 
men  followed  closely  ;  but  little  progress  had  been  made 
before  these  two  officers  joined  the  others,  Captain  Morton 
with  a  serious  foot  wound  and  Captain  Colles  Sandes  with 
a  wound  in  the  neck.  The  two  leading  companies  were 
now  without  officers ;  and  the  men  continued  their 
advance  over  the  shell-pitted  slippery  front  in  the  dark- 
ness and  rain.  Some  delay  occurred  at  Grandcourt 
Trench,  where  the  wire  was  not  sufficiently  cut,  though  it 
was  less  uncut  than  in  front  of  the  battalion  on  the  Fusi- 
liers' right.  The  men  pressed  ahead  and  reached  the  40-f  eet 
deep  cleft  called  Boom  Ravine.  There  was  now  not  an  officer 
in  the  four  companies  who  had  not  become  a  casualty. 
The  battalion  was  held  together  by  the  sergeants.  C.S.M. 
Fitterer  (B),  although  wounded  in  the  thigh,  reorganised 
the  companies  and  directed  the  advance  ;  and  Sergeants 
Choate,  Berry  and  Hazell,  of  A,  C  and  D  Companies 
respectively,  ably  assisted  him. 

It  was  hardly  light  till  6.5  a.m.,  but  by  6.30  Fitterer 
had  got  the  Fusiliers  to  resume  their  advance  from  the 
Ravine,  where  they  had  taken  over  100  prisoners.  The 
Middlesex  were  left  in  the  Ravine  to  mop  up.  But  already 
there  had  been  a  serious  delay  and  the  barrage  had  got 
too  far  ahead.  As  a  consequence,  the  Germans  were 
ready  in  South  Miraumont  Trench  ;  and  the  weak  force, 
facing  uncut  wire  in  a  heavily  manned  trench,  could  only 
take  refuge  in  the  muddy  shell-holes.  At  about  8.30  a.m. 
a  German  counter-attack  compelled  the  men  to  retire,  and 
it  was  while  steadying  the  withdrawal  that  Lieut. -Colonel 
R.  J.  F.  Meyricke,  who  had  only  left  the  nth  Battalion  a 


156     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

fortnight  before  to  command  the  Northants,  was  killed. 
For  some  time  Second  Lieutenant  G.  S.  Pearcy,  the 
signalling  officer  of  the  battalion,  rallied  the  Fusiliers 
during  this  part  of  the  battle  until  Lieut. -Colonel  C.  C. 
Carr,  D.S.O.,  and  Captain  Cumberledge,  D.S.O.,  the 
Adjutant,  took  control  and  the  line  was  halted.  The 
remains  of  the  assaulting  battalions,  with  two  companies 
of  the  Middlesex,  went  forward  once  more  in  the  after- 
noon and  recovered  some  of  the  lost  ground.  This  battle 
was  one  of  the  most  tragic  episodes  in  the  battalion's  his- 
tory. Of  the  officers  2  were  killed,  1  died  of  wounds,  and 
11  were  wounded  ;  of  other  ranks  36  were  killed,  162 
wounded  and  69  missing.  But,  on  the  whole,  it  was  not 
an  exorbitant  price  to  pay  for  an  advance  which  carried 
the  troops  so  near  the  defences  of  Petit  Miraumont. 

The  22nd  and  23rd  Battalions  (99th  Brigade,  2nd  Divi- 
sion) were  also  engaged  on  the  same  day.  The  22nd 
assembled  in  battle  position  between  East  and  West 
Miraumount  roads  and  began  the  assault  with  A  and  B 
Companies,  D  forming  a  defensive  flank  from  the  old 
British  line  to  the  final  objective.  In  so  doing,  the  com- 
pany advanced  along  the  east  side  of  East  Miraumont 
road  and  came  under  a  heavy  fire  from  machine  guns  on 
the  right.  For  a  moment  it  looked  as  though  the  attack 
would  fail  utterly  because  of  this  check  ;  but  Sergeant 
Palmer  cut  his  way  through  a  stretch  of  wire  under 
a  heavy  and  sustained  machine-gun  fire,  and  rushed  the 
trench  running  up  to  the  north-east,  on  the  company's 
right.  He  established  a  block  at  a  point  where  the  trench 
turned  eastward  and  thus  covered  the  right  flank  of  his 
battalion's  advance.  With  a  handful  of  men  he  held  the 
position  for  three  hours,  during  which  the  Germans  deli- 
vered seven  heavy  attacks.  When  the  supply  of  bombs 
gave  out  he  went  back  to  headquarters  for  more,  and 
while  he  was  away  the  post  he  had  won  and  so  skilfully 
defended  was  driven  in.  He  was  badly  shaken  by  a  bomb 
explosion  ;  but  he  collected  a  few  men,  drove  back  the 
Germans  and  restored  the  essential  flank-guard.     He  was 


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THE  GERMAN  RETREAT,  FEBRUARY,  1917    157 

granted  a  well-deserved  V.C.  for  this  act  of  courage  and 
skill. 

Meanwhile  A  and  C  Companies  found  the  wire  uncut  in 
front  of  them.  One  platoon  west  of  West  Miraumont 
Road  was  surrounded  and  captured.  But  the  troops  had 
reached  the  road  south  of  South  Miraumont  Trench  when 
an  outflanking  movement  from  the  right  caused  them  to 
fall  back  to  the  first  objective,  which  was  consolidated 
with  elements  of  the  1st  King's  Royal  Rifles  and  the  23rd 
Royal  Fusiliers.  This  engagement  was  marked  by 
numerous  acts  of  gallantry.  The  Lewis  gun  section,  who 
bore  the  brunt  of  the  German  counter-attack  from  South 
Miraumont  Trench  and  brought  back  eight  of  its  fourteen 
guns,  though  three-quarters  of  the  team  had  been  killed 
or  wounded,  deserves  mention  ;  and  the  fine  work  of  D 
Company  had  its  influence  on  the  action  to  the  end.  Well 
posted  in  an  advanced  position,  it  prevented  the  Germans 
debauching  on  East  Miraumont  Road.  But  the  battalion 
lost  very  heavily.  At  noon  only  three  officers  remained. 
Major  Walsh,  who  had  joined  the  battalion  in  February, 

1 91 5,  and  had  had  command  of  a  company  since  March, 

1916,  was  mortally  wounded.  A  natural  leader  of  men, 
he  was  a  great  loss  to  the  battalion.  The  23rd  Battalion, 
who  co-operated  on  the  right  and  carried  their  objectives, 
were  also  severely  hit,  losing  13  officers  and  227  other 
ranks.  The  battalion  held  their  final  position  during  the 
following  day  until  relieved. 

Retreat. — It  was  only  a  week  after  these  actions  that 
the  enemy  was  found  to  be  evacuating  his  positions.  The 
17th  Battalion,  in  the  Courcelette  Sector,  on  making  this 
discovery,  advanced  their  front  line  to  new  positions.  The 
7th  Battalion  patrols  had  found  evidence  of  the  enemy's 
withdrawal  north  of  the  Ancre  the  day  before,  February 
24th.  Strong  battle  patrols  were  therefore  pushed  for- 
ward in  co-operation  with  the  neighbouring  units.  After 
a  thorough  reconnaissance  the  battalion  advanced  early 
in  the  morning  of  the  25th  in  artillery  formation.  The 
eastern  edge  of  Miraumont  was  reached  without  opposi- 


153     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

tion,  and  an  outpost  line  was  established  and  a  further 
reconnaissance  was  made  by  scouts.  The  advance  was 
later  continued  under  a  weak  artillery  fire.  The  battalion 
had  advanced  nearly  two  miles  when,  on  the  night  of 
February  25th,  they  were  relieved. 

Three  days  later  this  process  of  testing  the  German 
grip  on  various  positions  was  extended  southwards. 
The  2nd  Battalion,  whose  march  discipline  while  making 
a  move  had  been  recently  pronounced  by  the  G.O.C. 
29th  Division  "  fit  for  an  inspection  parade,"  delivered  a 
successful  attack  in  the  Combles  area.  The  advance  was 
finally  held  up  by  a  shortage  of  bombs,  and  the  battalion 
had  to  fall  back  under  pressure  of  a  heavy  counter-attack. 

By  the  end  of  February  the  enemy  had  been  driven  back 
to  the  Transloy-Loupart  line,  with  the  exception  of  the 
village  of  Irles,  which  formed  a  salient  in  their  position. 
The  2nd  and  18th  Divisions  were  ordered  to  attack  the 
village,  in  preparation  for  a  larger  operation  against  the 
whole  of  the  Switch  Line.  The  22nd  Battalion  assisted 
in  this  engagement  by  supplying  carrying  parties,  a 
covering  company  and  several  Lewis  guns.  The  23rd 
gave  more  active  assistance,  taking  the  feature  known  as 
Lady's  Leg  Ravine.  They  killed  20  of  the  enemy, 
captured  30  and  also  a  machine  gun.  The  casualties 
were  slight,  hardly  more  than  the  number  of  prisoners 
captured ;  and  this  was  the  case  over  the  whole  of  the 
battle  front.  Not  long  after  this  the  general  withdrawal 
took  place,  and  the  Germans  fell  back  to  the  Hindenburg 
Line. 

Arras. — Part  of  Sir  Douglas  Haig's  pre-arranged  plan 
was  not  disturbed  by  this  retirement  of  the  Germans. 
As  far  south  as  the  Arras- Cambrai  road,  the  position  was 
completely  unchanged,  and  it  was  north  of  Arras  that  the 
Canadians  and  seven  of  the  British  divisions  were  to 
deliver  their  blow.  The  weather  broke  in  April ;  it  was 
cold,  and  on  the  2nd  it  began  to  snow.  At  the  end  of 
that  day  the  snow  lay  an  inch  deep  in  Arras.  Numerous 
troops  had  been  moved  up  to  this  part  of  the  line  and 


THE  BATTLE  OF  ARRAS,  APRIL  qth       159 

found  easy  accommodation  in  the  cellars.  They  were 
dark  and  damp,  but  stoves  made  them  a  little  more 
comfortable.  Some  of  the  cellars  were  very  deep,  and 
these  accommodated  battalion  headquarters.  To  some 
of  the  Fusiliers  this  cellar  life  proved  an  amusing  episode, 
and  it  was  not  sufficiently  prolonged  to  become  irksome. 
Zero  was  at  5.30  a.m.  on  Easter  Monday.  Wire-cutting 
had  begun  nearly  three  weeks  before,  and  on  April  4th 
the  preliminary  bombardment  started.  On  the  8th,  a 
fine  cold  day,  the  shelling  seemed  to  die  down  ;  but  in 
the  dark  of  the  Monday  morning  it  began  with  extra- 
ordinary intensity,  and  the  troops  moved  forward. 
Strange  but  very  welcome  rumours  were  heard  by  those 
Fusiliers  left  behind  in  Arras,  and  the  troops  of  cavalry 
trotting  by  seemed  to  give  point  to  them. 

On  the  Arras  battle  front  there  were  a  number  of 
Fusilier  battalions  waiting  to  take  their  part  in  the 
struggle.  Farthest  north  were  the  8th  and  9th  Battalions 
(12th  Division),  just  above  the  Arras-Cambrai  road. 
Behind  this  division  was  the  37th  with  the  10th  and  13th 
Battalions.  Below  the  Arras-Cambrai  road  lay  the  3rd 
Division  with  the  4th  Royal  Fusiliers ;  and  farther 
south,  before  Neuville-Vitasse,  was  the  56th  Division 
with  four  battalions  of  the  London  Regiment  R.F. 
(Territorials) . 

The  8th  and  9th  Battalions  reached  their  objectives, 
and  with  small  loss  took  a  considerable  number  of 
prisoners.  The  8th  was  the  left  support  battalion  of  the 
brigade,  and  the  men  moved  off  so  rapidly  after  the 
barrage  that  in  many  cases  they  became  merged  in  the 
assaulting  battalion,  the  7th  Royal  Sussex.  The  front 
German  line  was  reached  without  a  single  casualty. 
The  attack  went  exactly  according  to  programme.*  The 
enemy  put  up  a  resistance  at  two  strong  points,  but  they 

*  Message  from  Brig. -General  C.  S.  Owen  :  "  Please  convey  my  very 
best  congratulations  to  all  ranks  who  took  part  in  the  attack  to-day. 
They  did  magnificent  work.  They  went  forward  and  carried  out  their 
job  as  if  they  had  been  on  the  practice  trenches.  .  .  ." 


160     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

were  outflanked,  and  at  10  a.m.  the  whole  objective  was 
taken  with  two  machine  guns  and  129  prisoners.  The 
total  casualty  list  was  175  killed,  wounded  and  missing 
(only  7  of  these  last).  On  the  right,  the  9th  Battalion  also 
gained  all  objectives  and  captured  two  machine  guns  and 
220  prisoners.  C  Company  captured  150  of  these  in  one 
dug-out.  But  the  dug-outs  were  unhealthy  places.  One 
of  them,  in  the  nth  Middlesex  area,  was  suddenly  blown 
up  by  the  explosion  of  a  mine  ;  and  as  a  consequence 
German  dug-outs  were  afterwards  forbidden.  These 
positions,  the  "  Blue  Line,"  were  at  once  consolidated. 

The  4th  Battalion,  south  of  the  Arras-Cambrai  road, 
moved  off  with  the  9th  Brigade  after  the  76th  had  taken 
the  first  objective.  Advancing  at  7  a.m.  the  battalion 
came  under  heavy  shell  fire  as  they  moved  across  the 
open  ;  but  they  kept  on  until  they  had  covered  about  a 
mile,  the  men  keeping  their  ranks  and  formation  in  spite 
of  casualties.  In  their  path  lay  the  highly  organised 
defensive  system  below  Tilloy  called  the  Harp,  and  in 
conjunction  with  other  battalions  the  4th  Royal  Fusiliers 
swept  across  it.  Such  a  position  in  the  Battle  of  the 
Somme  frequently  remained  a  stumbling  block  for  days 
and  weeks.  W  Company,  leading  on  the  right,  suffered 
very  heavily  from  rifle  and  machine  gun  fire,  and  also 
partly  from  our  own  barrage.  All  the  officers  were 
wounded,  Captain  Furnie  severely,  and  the  command 
devolved  on  Second  Lieutenant  the  Earl  of  Shannon,  who, 
though  wounded,  led  the  company  from  Nomeny  Trench 
and  was  the  first  man  to  enter  String  Trench.  Before 
this  trench,  with  its  wire  only  partially  cut,  many  losses 
were  sustained.  A  portion  of  the  company  carried  on 
with  the  9th  Rifle  Brigade  to  Neuilly  Trench.  Z  Company 
were  caught  by  the  fire  from  the  north-east  corner  of 
Tilloy  village,  but,  with  the  help  of  two  platoons  of  X, 
assisted  in  the  capture  of  Lynx  and  String  Trenches. 
Captain  A.  E.  Millson  (CO.,  X  Company)  was  mortally 
wounded  as  he  entered  the  latter  trench.  X  and  Y 
Companies    supported    the    two    assaulting    companies 


NEUVILLE-VITASSE,   APRIL  qth  161 

mopped  up  Nomeny  Trench  and  carried  the  battalion 
forward  to  the  final  objective.  The  battalion  gained 
little  support  from  the  tanks,  although  one  sat  down  upon 
Nomeny  Trench  after  they  had  carried  it.  Among  the 
captures  of  the  day  were  5  officers  and  70  other  ranks, 
three  machine  guns,  two  minenwerfer  and  four  granaten- 
werfer.  But  the  battalion  lost  225  officers  and  men. 
Besides  Captain  Millson,  Second  Lieutenant  Paddock 
died  of  wounds,  and  seven  other  officers  were  wounded, 
Captain  Furnie  and  Second  Lieutenant  K.  C.  Marlowe 
severely. 

The  Territorial  battalions  had  more  obvious  objectives, 
and  carried  out  their  task  well.  The  3rd  Londons  lay 
before  Neuville-Vitasse,  and  with  the  8th  Middlesex  early 
got  a  hold  on  the  village,  and  pushed  on  until  at  10.30 
the  whole  of  it  was  in  their  hands.  On  this  the  1st 
Londons  went  ahead  against  the  Cojeul  Switch  Line. 
For  a  short  time  they  were  held  up  at  a  belt  of  uncut  wire, 
where  they  lost  very  heavily.  Colonel  Smith,  with  most 
of  his  officers,  became  a  casualty  ;  but,  reinforced  by  the 
7th  Middlesex,  the  battalion  held  on  until  the  line  was 
captured.  The  2nd  Londons  entered  the  battle  during 
the  night,  and,  by  an  advance  to  the  trench  junction  at 
Rum  Jar  Corner,  and  thence  to  the  high  ground  sur- 
mounted by  Wancourt  Tower,  secured  the  flank. 

Monchy  le  Preux. — Meanwhile  the  37th  Division  had 
moved  up.  The  13th  Battalion  reached  Blangy  at  ir.30 
a.m.  without  casualties,  and  at  1.10  p.m.  orders  came  to 
move  forward  and  take  up  positions  in  Battery  Valley, 
along  the  line  of  Fred's  Wood,  which  lies  about  200  yards 
north  of  the  railway,  and  east  of  Blangy.  At  about  6.45 
p.m.  the  battalion  moved  to  the  point  from  which  they 
were  to  begin  the  attack  on  Monchy  le  Preux,  a  village 
standing  on  a  small  hill  about  90  feet  above  the  surround- 
ing country.  Up  to  the  "  Blue  Line,"  which  had  been 
taken  and  consolidated  early  in  the  day,  there  was  no 
shell  fire  ;  but  on  crossing  it  the  Fusiliers  soon  saw  that 
the  next  line  had  not  been  taken  in  their  immediate  front 

F.  M 


162     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

and  there  was  no  alternative  but  to  attack  it  preparatory 
to  the  final  advance.  With  the  ioth  Royal  Fusiliers  on 
the  right,  the  troops  advanced  steadily  for  about  2,000 
yards  and  were  at  length  brought  to  a  halt  just  east  of  the 
Feuchy-Feuchy  Chapel  road.  Their  left  was  in  the  air, 
and  the  13th  Battalion  had  to  form  a  defensive  flank  there. 
In  this  position  they  dug  in  at  nightfall.  Shortly  before 
dawn  they  were  withdrawn  to  near  Broken  Mill  and 
another  brigade  took  over  the  positions.  The  ioth  Batta- 
lion had  fallen  back  to  Feuchy  Chapel  at  4  a.m.,  and  then 
later  to  the  "Brown  Line,"  farther  back. 

About  noon  on  April  ioth  the  Royal  Fusiliers  moved 
forward   once   more.     The    13th   Battalion   crossed   the 
northern  end  of  Orange  Hill  and  then  swung  half-left 
towards  the  outlying  woods  west  of  Monchy.     The  ioth 
Battalion  on  the  right  were  in  touch,  and  both  units  con- 
tinued to  advance  under  a  heavy  barrage  until  the  ioth 
were  only  600  yards  west  of  Monchy.     The  losses  of  both 
battalions  had  been  very  heavy.     At  7.40  p.m.  only  three 
officers  besides  the  CO.  and  the  adjutant  remained  with 
the  13th  Battalion,  and  a  provisional  line  of  trenches  had 
to  be  dug  west  of  the  village,  after  consultation  with  the 
Royal   Engineers.     This   line   was   completed  by   about 
4  a.m.  on  April  nth.     About  an  hour  and  a  half  later  the 
ioth  and  13th  Battalions  made  a  last  spurt  forward  and 
the  13th  established  themselves  north  of  the  village,  about 
a  hundred  yards  west  of  Hamers  Lane  ;  and  this  position 
they  held  throughout  the  day.     The  ioth  Battalion,  now 
commanded  by  Major  A.  Smith,  stormed  the  village  itself 
and  occupied  it  under  a  heavy  barrage.     The  west  side 
was  entrenched  and  a  small  advanced  post  was  established 
on  the  east  of  the  village.     The  cavalry  entered  the 
village  about  n  a.m.  and  were  heavily  shelled. 

The  Royal  Fusiliers  held  these  positions  until  relieved 
at  11  p.m.  that  night.  It  was  a  memorable  day.  At  one 
time  there  was  a  blinding  snowstorm  ;  but  the  troops 
ignored  such  small  inconveniences,  and,  though  the  Arras 
front  changed  considerably  in  the  subsequent  operations, 


CAPTURE  OF  MONCHY,  APRIL  iith       163 

the  positions  at  this  point  were  little  changed.  In  Decem- 
ber the  line  was  not  1,000  yards  farther  east  than  that 
achieved  on  April  nth  by  the  Fusiliers.  When  Lieut.- 
General  Sir  R.  C.  B.  Haking,  G.O.C.  XI.  Corps,  inspected 
the  10th  Battalion  on  January  5th,  he  said  it  was  the  best- 
turned-out  unit  he  had  seen  for  twelve  months.  Their 
achievement  at  Monchy  le  Preux  must  place  them  in  the 
front  rank  for  courage,  tenacity  and  skill.  Their  losses 
were  twelve  officers  (including  Lieut.-Colonel  Rice, 
wounded)  and  240  other  ranks.  The  13th  Battalion  had 
also  suffered  very  heavily,  and  Colonel  Layton's  words,  in 
reporting  the  detail  of  the  action,  "  I  consider  that  the 
battalion  behaved  magnificently,  and  I  have  nothing  but 
praise  for  every  one  in  it,"  were  well  merited. 

Other  divisions  were  now  appearing  in  this  area  bringing 
with  them  Fusilier  battalions.  On  April  nth  the  2nd 
Division  moved  up  to  the  left  of  the  Canadians  and  the 
24th  Battalion  entered  the  forward  trenches  in  the  Farbus 
line.  On  the  following  day  the  20th  Battalion  took  over 
the  trenches  won  that  day  about  1,000  yards  west  of 
Heninel.  On  the  13th  it  was  discovered  that  the  batta- 
lion on  the  left  of  the  24th  Royal  Fusiliers  had  found  the 
railway  line  unoccupied  and  it  was  decided  to  advance  at 
once.  Under  heavy  artillery  fire  the  Fusiliers  reached  the 
railway  line  and  then  a  line  from  the  eastern  edge  of 
Willerval  to  Bailleul.  This  line  covered  the  sugar  factory 
in  the  orchard  of  which  a  German  naval  6-inch  gun  was 
captured.  This  line  was  consolidated  for  the  night.  On 
their  left  the  23rd  Battalion,  who  on  the  nth  had  relieved 
the  1/5  Gordons  west  of  Bailleul,  advanced  with  the  24th 
to  the  railway,  and,  pushing  farther  on,  occupied  Bailleul. 
A  line  was  established  on  the  east  of  the  village  and  patrols 
were  sent  forward  towards  Oppy.  A  platoon  of  C  Com- 
pany, misinterpreting  orders,  went  out  to  attempt  the 
capture  of  Oppy,  and  was  itself  captured,  after  a  spirited 
fight  before  the  village.  The  23rd  captured  four  guns  in 
this  advance.     But  they  lost  heavily,  for,  in  addition  to 

the   platoon  cut   off  at   Oppy,  Captain   Lissmann,    the 

11  a 


164     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

adjutant,  was  killed  by  a  shell  as  he  walked  with  the  CO. 
towards  the  railway.  They  were  relieved  on  the  following 
day.  But  the  24th  continued  their  advance  at  3  p.m. 
on  April  14th,  and,  despite  a  heavy  artillery  and  machine- 
gun  fire,  succeeded  in  getting  to  within  about  500  yards  of 
the  Arleux  en  Gohelle-Oppy  line.  This  was  a  formidable 
sector  of  the  German  front,  and  the  24th  had  to  lie  facing 
it  with  both  flanks  refused,  since  the  units  on  neither  side 
had  advanced. 

Guemappe. — It  was  on  April  13th,  also,  that  the  4th 
Battalion  were  sent  forward  against  Guemappe.  Monchy 
lay  in  an  uneasy  salient,  and  its  importance  suggested  that 
the  sooner  it  was  finally  secured  the  better,  if  there  were 
any  expectations  of  further  advance  or  even  if  the  position 
was  to  be  held  easily.  The  attack  was  launched  hurriedly 
and  was  unsuccessful.  The  order  (cancelling  a  previous 
order  and)  directing  the  attack  to  take  place  that  evening 
was  only  received  at  5.55  p.m.  and  zero  was  to  be  at  6.20 
p.m.  The  battalion  were  formed  up  about  ten  minutes 
before  the  barrage  lifted  and  they  advanced  very  steadily 
although  they  encountered  three  German  barrages.  When 
they  approached  the  spur  lying  about  750  yards  north- 
west of  Guemappe  they  came  under  a  very  sustained  rifle 
and  machine-gun  fire  from  both  flanks,  but  particularly 
from  the  direction  of  Wancourt.  They  continued  to 
advance  and  crossed  the  spur.  But  by  this  time  most  of 
the  officers  who  had  gone  into  action  had  been  wounded. 
Captain  Gibson,  in  charge  of  the  right  leading  company, 
was  severely  wounded  ;  Second  Lieutenant  the  Earl  of 
Shannon,  commanding  the  right  support  company,  was 
killed ;  Second  Lieutenant  B.  C.  Martin  was  killed  ; 
Second  Lieutenant  C.  A.  Brasher  and  Captain  K.  J. 
Barrett  were  both  wounded.  Still  the  battalion  advanced 
and  the  sunken  road  was  reached.  They  had  pushed  for- 
ward nearly  3,000  yards,  an  apparently  irresistible 
advance  in  defiance  of  all  the  enemy  could  do. 

But  now  Captain  Barrett,  who  had  continued  in  com- 
mand though  wounded,  was  again  severely  wounded,  and 


ADVANCE  TO  THE  SOUCHEZ,  APRIL  14TH  165 

was  carried  out  of  action.  Before  leaving,  however,  he 
gave  instructions  in  writing.  It  was  now  8  p.m. 
Lieutenant  Hiddingh  and  Second  Lieutenants  Thoday  and 
Burr  were  the  only  officers  left.  The  King's  Liverpools, 
who  had  started  off  fifteen  minutes  before  the  4th  Royal 
Fusiliers,  had  not  been  seen  since.  The  12th  West  Yorks 
whom  it  was  intended  to  support  were  not  seen  at  all. 
The  Royal  Fusiliers  had  passed  through  some  of  the 
1st  Northumberland  Fusiliers  during  the  advance,  and 
this  unit's  right  was  found  to  be  on  the  cross-roads  north- 
west of  Guemappe,  and  practically  in  line  with  the  4th 
Battalion,  halted  on  the  sunken  road  facing  the  village 
about  500  yards  away.  This  advance,  launched  almost 
at  a  moment's  notice,  without  any  time  for  preliminary 
reconnaissance,  was  a  very  wonderful  performance.  Success 
could  have  added  but  little  to  it.  The  battalion  were 
ordered  to  withdraw  at  1  a.m.  on  April  14th  ;  and  the 
movement  was  carried  out  steadily  and  skilfully.  Of  the 
12  officers  who  went  into  action,  five  became  casualties, 
and  there  were  86  other  ranks  casualties. 

It  was  on  the  same  day,  April  13th,  that  the  12th  Bat- 
talion made  a  striking  advance  near  the  extreme  left  flank 
of  the  Arras  battle.  About  9-30  a.m.,  the  Germans  were 
observed  to  be  shelling  their  own  third  line.  Maj  or  Neynoc 
and  Lieut. -Colonel  Mobbs  (7th  Northants)  thereupon  went 
forward  to  the  3rd  line  positions  north-east  of  Souchez. 
The  trenches  were  found  to  be  almost  smashed  out  of 
recognition  by  our  fire,  and  unoccupied.  At  midnight 
Nos.  3  and  4  Companies,  in  close  support  under  Neynoc, 
relieved  the  units  in  the  front  line,  and  at  8  a.m.  on  the 
14th  patrols  were  pushed  ahead.  On  a  report  that  all 
was  clear,  No.  3  Company  proceeded  through  Calvary 
Trench  and  No.  4  Company,  under  cover  in  the  Bois  de 
Rollencourt,  advanced  and  occupied  the  sunken  road  up 
to  the  mill  in  the  outskirts  of  Lieven.  At  2  p.m.  the 
companies  went  through  Lieven  and  occupied  the  line  of 
the  Souchez  River.  The  latter  part  of  this  advance  was 
over  open  country,  under  the  observation  of  low-flying 


166    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

aeroplanes  which  directed  a  heavy  fire.  At  night  the  left 
of  the  battalion  were  in  contact  with  the  17th  Brigade  at 
the  north  corner  of  the  Bois  de  Riamont  and  their  right 
with  the  5th  Division  at  the  bridge  on  the  Souchez  river 
in  Cite  de  l'Abattoir.  This  flank  was  slightly  drawn 
back.  Two  fighting  patrols  under  Second  Lieutenants 
A.  H.  Lee  and  Deakin  were  pushed  forward  on  the  15th 
into  the  Cite-  de  Riamont,  but  they  were  later  ordered  to 
withdraw,  as  it  was  not  intended  seriously  to  engage  the 
enemy  in  this  quarter.  But  this  very  decisive  and 
skilful  exploitation  of  a  chance  discovery  won  warm  praise 
from  the  divisional  commander,  who  told  the  commanding 
officer  that  he  had  a  battalion  he  might  be  proud  of. 

Oppy. — On  April  16th  another  attempt  was  made  to 
test  the  strength  of  the  Oppy  line.     A  daylight  raid  was 
ordered  to  be  made  by  the  17th  Battalion,  and  Lieutenant 
Brodie  and  three  men  moved  out  at  3  p.m.     It  was  not 
the  sort  of  adventure  which  encourages  the  soldier.     The 
small  party  were  sniped  from  Arleux  and  never  had  a 
chance  of  doing  more  than  swell  a  casualty  list.     Brodie 
was  wounded  and  taken  prisoner.     Corporal  Town  was 
killed.     Another  man  was  wounded  and  made  prisoner. 
Only  one  returned  to  report  that  the  wire  was  thick  and 
unbroken.     The  battalion  were  ordered  on  the  following 
day  to  find  three  companies  to  enter  the  Oppy  switch  line 
and  bomb  it  clear  with  the  help  of  the  2nd  Oxford  and 
Bucks.     Fortunately  the  division  prevented  this  project 
being  carried  out.     Four  separate  brigades  attempted  to 
take  this  line  later  on,  and  all  failed.     The  defence  had, 
in  fact,  made  a  recovery,  as  the  20th  Battalion  also  dis- 
covered when  they  attacked  south-east  of  Heninel  on  the 
same   day.     This   small   operation   attained   no   success. 
Second  Battle  of  the  Scarpe. — On  April  23rd,   the 
second  Battle  of  the  Scarpe  began.     The  7th  Battalion's 
share  in  this  battle   was   an   attack   north   of  Gavrelle 
which  assisted  the  other  units  of  the  division  to  capture 
the  village.     Even  in  the  preparatory  stage  of  the  battle 
the  battalion  fared  badly.     A  new  line,  about  200  yards 


ATTACK  NORTH  OF  GAVRELLE,  APRIL  23RD   167 

from  the  German  positions  was  dug  ;  but  it  was  no  sooner 
ready  than  a  sustained  bombardment  beat  the  trenches  to 
pieces,  and  a  new  line  had  to  be  constructed  during  the 
night.     The  battalion  proceeded  to  take  up  positions  for 
attack  at  8-30  p.m.  on  the  night  of  the  22nd,  and  at 
4.45  a.m.,  zero,  the  infantry  began  the  advance.     The  men 
followed  the  barrage  closely ;   but  on  reaching  the  front 
line  found  that  the  wire  was  only  cut  in  one  place,  forming 
a  narrow  south-easterly  lane.     The  men  were  thus  con- 
gested and  lost  direction  ;  and  they  encountered  bombing 
parties    and    a    very   heavy    machine-gun    fire.      Many 
casualties  were  sustained  from  this  cause  until  a  party 
was  organised  to  attack  and  capture  them.     The  guns  were 
rushed  and  twenty-three  prisoners  were  captured.     The 
Fusiliers  then  pressed  on  to  the  support  line,  and  established 
a  post   against  the  Germans'  bombers,  who  were  shep- 
herded back  up  the  trench.     The  battalion  had  now 
got  forward  to  the  railway  where  it  was  hoped  to  dig  a 
trench  under  cover  of  darkness.     Posts  were  established 
about  25  yards  from  the  railway  and  were  maintained  in 
spite  of  the  activity  of  the  low-flying  German  planes  which 
signalled  the  Fusiliers'  position.     At  8  p.m.  the  line  was 
linked  up  with  that  of  the  6th  Brigade  on  the  left,  and  at 
daybreak  the  battalion  had  been  relieved  after  a  successful 
engagement.     The   number   going   into   action   was,    18 
officers ;  other  ranks,  358.     Four  officers,  Captain  Gast, 
Captain   Granville,    Lieutenant    Wood    and    Lieutenant 
Randall  were  killed,  eight  others  were   wounded.     The 
battalion  had  been  practically  wiped  out. 

The  10th  Battalion  also  attacked  at  4.45  a.m.  on  the 
same  day  and  took  the  German  second  line  without  much 
difficulty,  but  further  advance  was  held  up  by  machine- 
gun  fire  and  snipers  until  the  13th  Battalion  came  up  on 
the  left  flank.  The  advance  was  then  resumed  ;  but  the 
10th  Battalion  lost  touch  with  the  right  and  left  units 
later  on.  At  9.30  a.m.  the  10th,  now  consising  of  3 
officers  and  50  other  ranks,  had  occupied  Cuba  Trench, 
and  the  13th  Battalion  came  up  again  about  half  an  hour 


168    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

later.  But  the  63rd  Brigade  on  the  right  were  not  found 
again  until  9.55  p.m.  The  10th  Battalion  had  advanced 
up  to  the  road  running  due  south  of  Gavrelle  and  estab- 
lished a  line  not  far  from  the  north-western  slopes  of 
Greenland  Hill. 

On  the  same  day  the  29th  Division  had  gained  ground 
east  of  Monchy.     But  the  attack  as  a  whole  had  been 
brought  to  a  standstill  short  of  the  success  which  had  been 
expected,  and  orders  were  given  for  the  resumption  on 
the  24th.     The  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  advanced  on  a  three- 
company  front  from  Shrapnel  Trench  at  4  p.m.,  zero. 
Some  60  yards  from  the  starting  point,  the  battalion  were 
turned  towards  the  right  in  order  to  avoid  some  British, 
troops  in  front  of  them.     At  about  600  yards  west  of  the 
Bois  du  Vert,  the  right  (Z)  Company  were  held  up  by 
machine-gun  fire,  and  the  left  Company  (X)  turned  half 
right  to  take  the  wood  in  flank.     But  at  this  point  the 
company  were  very   weak,   and   contact   could   not   be 
achieved  with  the  troops  on  either  flank.     There  was  one 
officer  left,  and  he  had  30  men  with  him.     At  6.50  p.m. 
the  position  became  untenable  and  they  withdrew  ;   but 
W  Company  went  round  the  north  side  of  the  wood,  took 
up  the  position  X  had  occupied,  and  beat  off  the  enemy 
attacks,  while  Z  Company  on  the  right  at  length  succeeded 
in   overcoming   the   German   resistance.     The   positions 
were  consolidated  and  many  German  dead  bodies  were 
found  on  the  ground  with  much  equipment,  packs,  rifles, 
etc.     If  the  2nd  Battalion  had  paid  heavily  for  their 
success,  the  Germans  found  their  resistance  even  more 
expensive. 

The  20th  Battalion  on  the  same  day  took  over  the 
advanced  positions  in  front  of  Fontaine  les  Croisilles, 
from  which  the  Germans  had  just  retired.  An  outpost 
line  consisting  of  ten  strong  points  was  organised  and 

patrols  were  pushed  out  up  to  the  Sensee. 

*  *  *  * 

On  April  28th  began  that  series  of  attacks  which  aimed 
principally,  if  not  wholly,  at  assisting  the  French.     The 


OPPY  WOOD,   APRIL  29TH  169 

13th  Battalion  attacked  from  the  trenches  about  300 
yards  east  of  the  Gavrelle-Roeux  road.  Their  objective 
was  the  Whip  cross-roads,  south-east  of  Gavrelle.  The 
attack  began  at  4.25  a.m.  About  four  hours  later  No.  3 
Company  were  sent  up  to  the  right  of  the  13th  Rifle 
Brigade,  who  had  secured  their  objective ;  but  the 
company  could  not  get  into  contact  with  any  troops  on 
the  right,  and  a  German  machine  gun  was  in  action  at 
the  cross-roads.  At  10.15  a.m.,  however,  the  position 
had  been  cleared  up  and  the  two  companies,  Nos.  3  and  4, 
held  the  road,  including  the  cross-roads,  for  some  250 
yards.  The  success  was  complete  though  the  Fusiliers 
had  been  constantly  harassed  by  fire  from  snipers  and 
machine  guns.  The  positions  were  retained  intact  until 
the  battalion  were  relieved  on  the  night  of  the  29th. 
While  the  Fusiliers  were  on  their  objective  a  body  of  the 
63rd  Brigade  swept  across  their  front  leading  towards 
Square  Wood  from  the  south-west.  They  had  lost 
direction,  but  they  succeeded  in  carrying  a  body  of 
Fusiliers  with  them  until  they  were  recalled.  The  10th 
Battalion,  in  support  of  the  13th  on  their  right  flank, 
had  made  persistent  attempts  to  get  into  touch  with  this 
brigade,  but  without  success. 

Oppy. — The  attack  was  continued  on  April  29th,  and 
four  battalions  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  made  another 
attempt  to  conquer  the  Oppy  defences.  The  Canadians 
took  Arleux  on  the  left  and  the  24th  Battalion  formed 
the  left  of  the  attack  on  Oppy  Wood.  They  went  forward 
at  4  a.m.,  and  A  and  B  Companies  reached  their  objective, 
the  sunken  road  between  Arleux  and  Oppy,  capturing  64 
prisoners,  only  to  find  that  the  right  battalions  had  not 
reached  their  positions  in  the  wood.  Their  right  flank 
was  therefore  in  the  air.  A  furious  bombing  attack  took 
place  on  the  left  flank,  and  such  were  the  losses  that  it 
was  decided  to  swing  the  right  flank  back  to  Oppy  Trench, 
west  of  the  sunken  road  and  gradually  retire  along  it. 
This  was  successfully  accomplished.  C  and  D  Companies 
were  sent  that  night  to  relieve  the  2nd  Highland  Light 


170     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Infantry,  immediately  north  of  Oppy  Wood,  who  had 
suffered  very  terribly  from  the  fire  from  Oppy  Wood. 
The  17th  Battalion,  who  had  been  supporting  the  24th 
during  the  day  with  B  Company,  finding  their  right  in 
the  air,  formed  a  defensive  flank.  The  line  along  this 
front  was,  in  fact,  pitted  with  gaps.  Farther  south  the 
22nd  Battalion  advanced  in  perfect  order,  but  were  held 
up  against  dense  wire,  and  when  this  was  partly  cut  came 
under  heavy  machine-gun  fire. 

On  the  right  B  Company  found  the  wire  still  unpene- 
trable and  Second  Lieutenant  J.  Steele  had  a  whole 
platoon  shot  down.  At  this  juncture  Second  Lieutenant 
S.  F.  Jeffcoat,  a  newly-joined  officer,  found  a  gap,  and  with 
a  handful  of  men  jumped  into  the  trench  and  throughout 
the  morning  was  engaged  bombing  up  it  to  the  right. 
At  every  traverse  the  Germans  resisted,  but  Jeffcoat, 
assisted  by  a  few  men  of  the  63rd  Division,  cleared  a 
considerable  length  of  the  trench  by  sheer  personal 
courage  and  leadership.  He  was  mortally  wounded,  and 
was  recommended  for  the  V.C.  C.S.M.  Roger  also  ably 
assisted.  The  whole  objective  of  the  battalion  was  taken 
chiefly  owing  to  Jeffcoat's  fine  work,  and  the  23rd 
Battalion  reinforced  on  the  final  line. 

The  7th  Battalion  on  the  right  had  gallantly  fought  to 

the  sunken  road  just  north  of  the  railway.     Repeated 

bombing  attacks  on  the  left  flank  were  beaten  off,  and  a 

strong   post   was   established   near   the   ruined   cottage, 

south  of  Oppy  and  300  yards  north  of  the  railway.     At 

one  time  the  Bedfords,   whom  the  7th  Battalion  were 

supporting,  were  in  touch  with  men  of  the  22nd  Battalion. 

But  for  the  most  part  the  battalions  engaged  this  day 

fought   small  engagements   under  peril  of  envelopment 

from  both  flanks  ;    and  in  the  final  result  the  general 

position  was  little  changed.     Three  days  later  a  company 

100  strong  of  the  22nd  attacked  north  of  Oppy  as  part  of  a 

composite  battalion,  but  with  little  success. 
*  *  ♦  * 

On  May  3rd  another  attack  was  launched  for  the  same 


THE  BATTLE  OF  MAY  3RD  171 

purpose  as  that  of  April  28th,  but  on  this  occasion  the  battle 
front  totalled  sixteen  miles.     The  8th  and  9th  Battalions 
were  engaged  just  south  of  the  Scarpe  and  fought  a  very 
amazing  battle.     Together  they  totalled  no  more  than  900 
men  and   their  role  was  to  cross  about  1,000  yards,  and 
their  objective  was  almost  9,000  yards  long.     The  9th 
Battalion  on  the  right  started  off  from  a  trench  which  was 
partly  in  German  hands,  with  a  block  dividing  them  from 
the  Fusiliers.     Zero  was  at  3.45  a.m.     Scabbard  Trench, 
the  first  objective,  was  reached  by  both  battalions,  and 
the  line  held  for  the  moment  lay  just  south  of  Roeux, 
south  of  the  Scarpe.     But  a  bombing  attack  along  the 
river  pushed  both  battalions  out  of  the  position,  and  at 
noon  the  British  artillery  put  a  12  minutes'  barrage  on 
Scabbard  Trench.     A  small  party  of  the  9th  had  gone 
ahead  and  were  now  cut  off,  in  advance  of  this  line. 
Surprisingly  enough  they  rejoined  the  battalion  in  the 
evening.     They  had  been  taken  prisoner,  but,  caught  by 
our  own  machine-gun  fire  on  the  road  to  Douai,  they  had 
escaped  as  the  Germans  ran  away.     Major  Coxhead,*  the 
acting  CO.,  was  killed  in  this  battle.     He  had  gone  out 
into  the  open,  as  the  trench  was  packed  and  he  wished  to 
reorganise.     When  he  left  the  trench  the  first  waves  were 
well  ahead ;  behind  them  a  desperate  fight  was  going  on 
for  the  possession  of  Scabbard  Trench,  and  in  the  starting- 
off  trench  the  Germans  were  counter-attacking  from  the 
block.     Few  positions  have  been  as  involved  as  this  ; 
and  it  was  due  to  Coxhead's  courage  and  decision  that 
something  solid  emerged  at  the  end  of  the  day.     The  8th 
Battalion  had  gone  through  a  similar  train  of  vicissitudes. 
The   machine-gun   fire    from    Roeux   caused   numerous 
casualties  and  there  was  the  same  bold  advance,  a  sudden 
and  temporary  crumpling  in  the  intermediate  positions, 
and  active  fighting  on  the   jumping-off  position.     They 
took  1  officer  and  44  other  ranks  prisoners.     At  night 
they  formed  one  company,  and  the  8th  and  9th  were 

*  Major  Coxhead's  diary,  dispassionate,  critical  and  detailed,  has 
been  almost  invaluable  for  the  period  it  covers. 


172     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

joined  under  the  command  of  Lieut. -Colonel  N.  B.  Elliot- 
Cooper.  The  8th  alone  had  lost  282  officers  and  men. 
The  unit  on  the  left  had  failed  to  carry  Roeux  and  there 
was  no  support  on  the  right. 

It  was  the  strange  vicissitudes  of  this  engagement  that 
provided  Corporal  G.  Jarratt,  of  the  8th  Battalion,  with 
the  opportunity  for  a  splendid  act  of  heroism.  He  had 
been  taken  prisoner  with  some  wounded  men,  and  was 
placed  under  guard  in  a  dug-out.  In  the  evening  the 
troops  drove  back  the  enemy  and  the  leading  infantry- 
men proceeded  to  bomb  the  dug-outs.  A  grenade  fell 
into  the  dug-out  in  which  were  Jarratt  and  his  com- 
panions ;  and,  without  a  moment's  hesitation,  he  placed 
both  feet  on  it.  He  had  instantly  seen  that  the  lives  of 
all  were  at  stake  and  he  risked  his  own  to  save  those  of  his 
companions.  In  the  subsequent  explosion  both  his  legs 
were  blown  off.  The  wounded  were  later  safely  removed 
to  our  line,  but,  before  this,  Jarratt  was  dead.  "  By  this 
supreme  act  of  self-sacrifice  the  lives  of  the  wounded  were 
saved."  He  was  subsequently  awarded  the  Victoria 
Cross. 

Farther  south,  the  4th  Battalion  had  attacked  from  a 
line  about  1,000  yards  east  of  Monchy,  and  had  reached 
positions  100  yards  east  of  the  Bois  des  Aubepines.  The 
men  followed  the  barrage  closely  ;  but  the  1st  German 
line  had  apparently  been  missed,  and  heavy  loss  was  expe- 
rienced there.  A  hostile  counter-attack  from  the  east  and 
north-east  was  beaten  off ;  but  a  second  counter-attack 
got  round  the  flanks  of  the  13th  King's  Liverpools  and 
4th  Royal  Fusiliers.  The  two  leading  waves,  with  all  the 
officers  casualties,  were  cut  off ;  but  the  remainder  of  the 
battalion  held  their  ground  till  nightfall,  when,  with  only 
one  officer  left,  they  retired  to  the  original  position.  It 
had  been  impossible  to  maintain  communication  with  the 
front  line.  Runners  were  almost  invariably  shot  down  ; 
and  one  who  got  through  took  five  hours  to  make  the 
journey.  The  battalion  on  this  day  had  299  casualties, 
including  11  officers.     About  1  a.m.,  on  May  4th,  Second 


THE  TERRITORIALS   ON   MAY  3RD        173 

Lieutenant  E.  M.  Buck  returned  from  beyond  the  German 
front  line  system.  He  had  lost  all  his  men  and  had  him- 
self been  blown  up.  On  the  night  of  the  9th,  six  days 
later,  there  also  returned  three  men  who  had  been  east  of 
Infantry  Hill  since  the  morning  of  May  3rd. 

The  nth  Battalion  were  engaged  opposite  Cherisy  in 
mopping  up,  moving  dumps  and  supporting  the  assaulting 
battalions  of  the  54th  Brigade.  B  Company,  under  Cap- 
tain Neate,  were  to  mop  up  the  village.  The  Middlesex 
with  B  Company  got  into  and  cleared  Cherisy  ;  but  the 
small  band  who  had  accomplished  this  serviceable  achieve- 
ment were  practically  wiped  out  in  a  counter-attack  from 
the  right.  No  officers  of  either  regiment  returned.  Neate, 
a  young,  spirited,  and  very  efficient  officer,  was  last  seen 
with  his  revolver  in  his  hand  at  the  head  of  his  men.  C 
Company  made  an  unsuccessful  attempt  to  take  Fontaine 
Trench  which  had  not  been  captured  by  the  assaulting 
companies,  and  merely  sustained  heavy  loss. 

Another  gallant  but  abortive  action  was  fought  by  the 
2nd  Londons  who,  with  the  56th  Division,  lay  on  the  left  of 
the  3rd  Division.  The  battalion  went  forward  gallantly 
in  the  darkness,  and  took  Cavalry  Farm  on  the  Arras- 
Cambrai  road  and  the  German  position  100  yards  to  the 
east  of  it.  The  left  battalion  had  not  advanced  in  step 
and  the  2nd  Londons'  left  flank  wavered  a  little  before  it 
got  into  its  stride,  when,  after  the  farm  buildings  had  been 
taken,  it  formed  a  defensive  flank.  These  positions  were 
held,  despite  heavy  losses  for  nearly  twenty-four  hours, 
when,  both  flanks  being  exposed,  they  had  to  be  aban- 
doned. A  sergeant  on  this  occasion  distinguished  him- 
self by  an  admirable  piece  of  bluff.  In  his  endeavour  to 
find  the  left  flank  battalion  he  crossed  the  Cambrai  road 
and  walked  into  a  German  dug-out  where  he  was  taken 
prisoner.  Before  dawn  on  May  4th  he  had  persuaded  the 
seventeen  Germans  to  surrender.  By  this  time  the  batta- 
lion had  retired  ;  but  the  sergeant  safely  brought  his  little 
flock  across  to  the  British  line.  On  the  north  of  the  2nd 
Londons,   the   1st   Londons  had  fought   a  very  costly 


i74    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

engagement  to  as  little  purpose  as  most  of  the  units 

attacking  that  day  ;  but  on  May  14th  Cavalry  Farm  was 

recaptured  by  them  with  practically  no  loss. 

It  was  in  May  that    the    3/4   Londons  and  the  3/3 

Londons  took  over  from  the  Australians  a  sector  of  the 

line  on  the  right  of  Bullecourt.     On  the  14th  of  the  month, 

after  a  bombardment  of  nineteen  hours,  they  were  attacked 

by  the  3rd  Prussian  Guard.     The  two  battalions  fought 

magnificently   and    crushed    the   attack   with   rifle   and 

machine-gun  fire  before  it  reached  the  trenches.     Both  of 

them  suffered  heavy  loss  ;    but  the  line  was  maintained 

intact,   and  Lieut. -Colonel  Beresford,   who  directed  the 

3/3    with    great    courage    and    skill,   was  awarded   the 

D.S.O. 

*  •  *  * 

This  long-drawn-out  narrative  may  be  terminated  here. 
The  battle  had  been  initiated  for  distinct  and  valuable 
objectives  ;  but  it  was  continued  from  loyalty  to  the 
French.  It  was  in  the  latter  period  that  the  smallest 
gains  and  the  greatest  losses  were  recorded.  But  the 
struggle  called  on  the  gallantry  and  skill  of  the  Fusilier 
battalions,  who  gave  of  both  very  remarkably. 


CHAPTER  IX 

THE   BATTLE   OF  MESSINES 

The  Arras  offensive  gradually  died  down  after  May  3rd, 
though  there  were  actions  on  the  Hindenburg  line  and 
about  the  Souchez  River  and  Avion  until  almost  the  end 
of  June.  But  it  was  on  May  4th  or  5th  *  that  it  was 
agreed  "  to  give  immediate  effect  to  the  British  plan  of  a 
Northern  Offensive."  To  this  plan  the  Battle  of  Messines 
formed  a  preliminary  operation,  and,  after  elaborate  pre- 
paration, it  was  launched  on  June  7th,  1917. 

The  objective  was  the  Messines- Wytschaete  ridge, 
which  formed  a  most  important  observation  post  in  the 
British  positions,  and  the  chord  across  it  running  slightly 
east  of  the  hamlet  of  Oosttaverne.  In  the  plan  of  battle 
the  first  German  defensive  system  and  the  second,  follow- 
ing the  crest  of  the  ridge,  were  to  be  carried  in  a  first 
assault ;  and  the  Oosttaverne  line  was  to  be  captured  by 
a  second  distinct  movement.  Four  battalions  of  Royal 
Fusiliers  took  part  in  the  battle,  two  of  them  being 
engaged  in  the  opening  attack.  The  41st  Division  lay 
near  St.  Eloi,  toward  the  north-west  face  of  the  salient, 
and  the  26th  and  32nd  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  belonged  to 
it,  went  forward  with  great  dash  and  secured  their 
objectives. 

At  3.10  a.m.,  zero  hour,  there  was  a  terrific  explosion 
caused  by  the  mines  which  had  been  driven  under  the 
German  position,  and  at  the  same  time  the  enemy  lines 
were  deluged  by  a  bombardment  that  seemed  the  heaviest 
of  the  war.  Then,  in  bright  moonlight,  the  26th  Batta- 
lion advanced  promptly  and  steadily,  under  the  direction 
of  Lieutenant  R.  C.  Brockworth,  M.C.,  suffering  very  few 

*  Sir  Douglas  Kaig's  Despatches,  p.  ioo,  Note. 


176     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

casualties.  They  were  the  first  troops  on  the  Damm- 
strasse,  Lieutenant  Brockworth  sending  back  the  report 
of  its  occupation.  So  swiftly  and  successfully  had  the 
advance  gone  that  Brockworth  was  awarded  a  bar  to  his 
M.C.  Some  203  casualties  were  sustained  before  the  day 
ended  ;  but  up  to  this  point  there  had  been  little  appear- 
ance of  resistance  and  very  little  loss. 

The  32nd  advanced  in  support  of  the  26th  Battalion. 
They  went   forward   in  four  waves,   keeping  admirable 
order,  and   reached  the  first   objective   without  opposi- 
tion.     There,    a    pause    was    made   for   reorganisation ; 
and  the  battalion  passed  through  the  26th  at  Damm- 
strasse,  and  moved  towards  their  final  objective.     It  is 
amazing  that  the  units  kept  to  their  orders  so  well,  for 
the  whole  of  the  ground  was  beaten  out  of  recognition 
and  the  objectives  were  originally  definite  trenches.    Near 
the  final  position  most  of  the  Germans  fled.     About  thirty 
were  taken  prisoner,  the  majority  of  them  very  eager  to 
give  themselves  up  ;   but  a  few  were  bombed  out  of  dug- 
outs.    But  at  the  Black  Line,  from  Goudezoune  Farm  to 
a  point  on  Obstacle  Switch  250  yards  to  the  north,  there 
was   no   opposition.     The   battalion    dug  themselves   in 
about  100  yards  beyond  Obstacle  Trench  and  established 
advanced  posts  with  seven  Lewis  guns.     The  engagement 
was  admirably  carried  out  largely  owing  to  the  efficiency 
of  the  signalling  under  Second  Lieutenant  Home  Galle  and 
Sergeant  Scoble.     After  passing  the  first  objective,  the 
Red  Line,  the  companies  were  kept  in  constant  touch  with 
headquarters  by  visual  signalling.     The  battalion  went 
into  action  17  officers  and  551  other  ranks  strong  and  came 
out  with  11  officers  and  384  ranks.     For  an  attack  with 
important  objectives  which  were  secured  in  schedule  time, 
the  losses  were  not  excessive. 

At  8.10  a.m.  the  work  of  these  two  battalions  was  over, 
except  for  the  consolidation  and  organisation  of  the 
positions.  It  was  3.10  before  the  second  phase  of  the 
battle  began  with  the  advance  upon  the  Oosttaverne 
Line.     The  1st  Royal  Fusiliers  attacked  in  this  part  of 


THE  BATTLE  OF  MESSINES,  JUNE  7TH    177 

the  battle,  forming  the  right  assaulting  battalion  of  the 
17th  Brigade.  The  12th  Battalion  were  left  in  dug-outs 
on  the  north  and  west  edges  of  the  Etang  de  Dickebusch 
in  support ;  but  as  this  position  lay  nearly  three  miles 
from  Dammstrasse  they  were  not  engaged  during  the 
battle.  At  11.15  a.m.,  the  Fusiliers  learned  that  all  the 
objectives  of  the  41st  and  19th  Divisions  had  been  taken  ; 
and  an  hour  later  they  were  ordered  to  move  to  the  old 
front  trench  at  11.30  a.m.  The  battalion  moved  forward 
five  minutes  afterwards  in  artillery  formation.  It  had 
become  a  swelteringly  hot  day,  and  the  advance  in  such 
conditions  was  not  over-enjoyable.  At  2.10  p.m.  Damm- 
strasse was  reached  and  the  battalion  moved  through  the 
26th  preparatory  to  the  attack. 

The  1st  Battalion  had  about  a  mile  to  go  to  their  final 
objective.  At  3.10  p.m.  the  advance  began  and  the  men 
moved  very  close  to  the  barrage.  Although  the  Germans 
had  had  a  certain  amount  of  time  to  recover  there  was 
still  little  organised  opposition.  The  wire  had  been  well 
cut,  the  strong  points  were  battered,  and  the  Germans  were 
demoralised.  But  the  swiftness  and  completeness  of  the 
Fusiliers'  success  was  due  to  their  splendid  dash.  Second 
Lieutenant  Field,  with  a  handful  of  D  Company,  rushed 
a  strong  point  which  was  holding  out  and  captured  25- 
prisoners  and  two  machine  guns.  B  Company  crossed 
Odyssey  Trench  and,  despite  a  strong  opposition,  with  the 
help  of  a  platoon  of  A  Company  under  Second  Lieutenant 
Douglas  Crompton  rushed  the  strong  point  which  formed 
part  of  the  final  objective.  Crompton  was  unfortunately 
killed,  as  also  was  Second  Lieutenant  Shoesmith,  who  had 
also  shown  great  gallantry  in  attack.  At  one  point  when 
B  and  D  Companies  had  drawn  apart  and  there  was 
danger  that  the  Germans  might  profit  by  the  gap  between 
them,  Second  Lieutenant  Mander  ran  forward  with  his 
platoon  and  filled  the  gap.  Sergeant  Haldane's  unselfish- 
ness in  attending  to  the  wounded  of  his  two  sections  is  also 
worthy  of  record.  The  sections  being  all  casualties,  he 
carried  the  wounded  back,  and  bandaged  them  before 

F.  n 


178    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

reporting  himself,  when  he  fainted  from  loss  of  blood 
and  exhaustion.  The  Rev.  Studdert  Kennedy  also  did 
excellent  work  for  the  wounded. 

The  final  position  was  gained  early,  and  at  4.30  p.m. 
the  companies  reported  all  objectives  attained  and  that 
they  were  in  touch  with  the  battalions  on  the  flanks. 
The  line  extended  from  the  point  where  the  Roozebeek 
cut  Odyssey  Trench  to  within  a  few  yards  of  the  road 
running  north-east  of  Oosttaverne.  At  this  point  the 
position  lay  some  500  yards  north-east  of  the  hamlet.  The 
1st  Battalion  in  this  battle  took  130  men  of  the  150th 
Prussian  Regiment  prisoners,  with  a  machine  and  two 
field  guns,  for  a  loss  of  5  officers  and  no  other  ranks. 

When  the  1st  Battalion  were  consolidating  the 
advanced  positions,  the  12th  moved  up  to  the  old  front 
line  and  before  midnight  went  forward  to  the  Dammstrasse 
near  Hiele  Farm.  From  this  position  they  took  rations 
and  supplies  to  the  1st  Battalion  and  the  3rd  Rifle  Brigade 
in  the  front  line.  At  9.30  p.m.  on  June  9th  they  moved 
forward  to  relieve  the  front  line  about  the  Roozebeek 
stream.  The  battalion  headquarters  were  established  in 
Oosttaverne  Wood,  near  the  Wambeke  road ;  and  it  was 
close  to  this  place  that  the  battalion  suffered  a  very  search- 
ing blow.  They  were  destined  to  take  part  in  rounding 
off  the  battle  and  yet  at  one  stroke  they  lost  four  of  their 
chief  officers.  A  shell  fell  close  to  headquarters,  catching 
Lieut-Colonel  Compton,  Captain  Gordon,  Captain  J.  V. 
Wilson  and  Captain  Whittingham  (R.A.M.C),  and 
wounding  them.  Captains  Gordon  and  Whittingham 
died  at  midnight.  Lieut.-Colonel  Compton  lingered  till 
July  7th,  when  he  too  succumbed.  At  10  p.m.,  Captain 
Ventres  assumed  command  of  the  battalion,  pending  the 
arrival  of  Major  Neynoc,  who  reached  headquarters  about 
3.30  a.m.  At  9.35  that  night  (June  10th)  the  battalion 
was  relieved,  and  suffered  52  casualties  in  the  barrage 
during  relief.     It  was  an  unfortunate  tour. 

Major  Hope  Johnstone  of  the  1st  Battalion  took  over 
command  on  the  nth ;   and  at  11  p.m.  on  the  12th,  the 


ATTACK  ON  BATTLE  WOOD,  JUNE  14TH     179 

1 2th  Royal  Fusiliers  relieved  the  Durham  Light  Infantry 
in  Impartial  Trench  preparatory  to  attack.  Their  role 
was  to  round  off  the  battle  by  the  capture  of  the  dug-outs 
north  of  the  railway,  at  Battle  Wood,  in  conjunction  with 
the  8th  Buffs.  The  battalion  attacked  at  7.30  p.m., 
June  14th,  on  a  two-company  front,  and  a  very  stiff 
right  ensued.  The  bombardment  had  left  the  dug-outs  * 
undamaged  ;  they  were  well  garrisoned  and  a  very  strong 
resistance  was  offered.  The  right  leading  company, 
No.  4,  came  under  intense  machine-gun  fire  from  the  flank 
on  reaching  the  line  of  dug-outs  on  the  railway  embank- 
ment. The  first  dug-out  contained  1  officer  and  20  men 
and  a  machine  gun,  and  the  platoon  ordered  to  deal  with 
it  had  a  fierce  hand-to-hand  battle  and  had  to  kill  prac- 
tically the  whole  garrison.  Another  dug-out  had  a 
garrison  of  40  and  the  men  came  out  and  fought  it  out  in 
the  open.  The  platoon  ended  the  resistance  by  a  fierce 
bayonet  charge  in  which  20  Germans  were  killed  and  20 
taken  prisoner.  These  encounters  had  so  weakened  the 
company  that  reinforcements  had  to  be  sent  for.  Two 
platoons  of  No.  2 — the  reserve — Company  were  sent  up, 
and  had  to  go  through  a  heavy  barrage  ;  but  with  careful 
leading  they  came  through  without  too  heavy  a  loss. 

Meanwhile  No.  1 — the  left  leading — Company  had  met 
with  little  opposition,  except  at  a  post  in  the  ravine  in 
Impartial  Trench.  This  ravine  was  the  objective  of  the 
right  platoon  of  the  company,  but  the  platoon  commander 
saw  that  another  ravine  which  ran  along  the  road  100 
yards  farther  south  offered  a  better  site  for  a  strong  post, 
and  accordingly  this  was  made  good  under  heavy  machine- 
gun  fire.  The  battalion  had  orders  to  establish  five  strong 
posts,  but  the  conditions  made  this  task  extremely 
difficult.  The  pill-boxes  were  very  hard  to  cope  with, 
and  one  of  them  kept  up  a  consistent  machine-gun  fire 

*  This  was  the  first  experience  of  the  real  formidableness  of  the  "  pill- 
boxes," as  these  concrete  dug-outs  came  to  be  called.  They  had 
survived  the  attacks  of  another  division  and  had  won  a  certain  unfor- 
tunate notoriety  already. 

N   2 


180    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

during  the  process  of  consolidation.  The  work,  however, 
was  pushed  through  in  full  view  of  the  enemy,  and  before 
darkness  fell  the  posts  were  consolidated  and  an  organised 
defensive  established.  When  it  is  remembered  that  the 
attack  was  only  launched  at  7.30  p.m.,  it  will  be 
appreciated  that  the  battalion  had  added  a  considerable 
achievement  to  their  record.  The  organisation  was  not 
only  remarkably  good  ;  it  was  even  remarkably  successful 
in  weathering  the  stresses  and  strains  of  battle.  Tapes 
were  laid  from  the  forward  posts  to  battalion  head- 
quarters and  to  the  dressing  station.  These  tapes  were 
of  great  assistance  to  the  stretcher  bearers.  Second 
Lieutenants  W.  S.  Nathan  and  H.  A.  Bayly  were  killed, 
Second  Lieutenant  Bescoby  was  mortally  wounded  and 
died  four  days  later,  four  other  officers  were  wounded, 
and  there  were  92  other  ranks  casualties.  Considering 
the  nature  of  the  fighting,  and  that  all  objectives  were 
gained,  and  28  prisoners  and  a  machine  gun  captured, 
these  casualties  cannot  be  considered  excessive. 

Appreciative  messages  followed  speedily.  The  com- 
mander of  the  division  congratulated  the  battalion  on 
their  success.  The  Second  Army  Commander  sent  a 
message  congratulating  "  all  concerned  in  the  success  of 
last  night's  operations  which  have  succeeded  in  sub- 
stantially advancing  our  whole  line.  The  operations 
reflect  much  credit  on  all  concerned." 

In  action  the  12th  appeared  to  have  a  fair  share  of  luck. 
Out  of  it,  they  seemed  to  suffer  every  sort  of  mishap. 
The  loss  of  four  officers  by  a  chance  shell  has  already  been 
recorded.  A  little  later  in  the  month  they  were  in  Hill  60 
area.  Back  areas  came  in  for  a  heavy  bombardment, 
preventing  rations  being  brought  up.  Four  yards  from 
battalion  headquarters — the  coincidence  is  remarkable — 
a  shell  blocked  up  the  gallery.  Lieutenant  Martin  was 
partly  buried  by  the  explosion  and  gassed.  Captain 
Skene  (R.A.M.C.)  and  Captain  Simkins  were  also  gassed, 
and  Major  Hope  Johnstone,  Major  Neyoc  and  Second 
Lieutenant  Fonteyn  suffered  slightly,  but  were  able  to 


THE  BATTLE  OF  MESSINES  181 

remain  at  duty.  Three  days  later  when  they  relieved  the 

ist  Battalion,  a  shell  caused  19  casualties  in  a  working 
party. 

The  Battle  of  Messines  was  a  prelude  to  the  Ypres 

battles  of  1917.  The  Fusiliers  had  a  distinct  hand  in  the 

launching  stage,  and  also  a  very  vivid  and  vital  part  in 
rounding  it  off. 


CHAPTER  X 

THE  THIRD  BATTLE  OF  YPRES 

The  Flanders  offensive  was  very  elaborately  staged  and 
was  launched  with  high  hopes.  The  Battle  of  Messines 
was  a  prelude,  which  was  very  successfully  performed, 
but  another  part  of  the  plan  was  anticipated  by  the 
Germans.  If  the  offensive  achieved  sufficient  success 
before  the  end  of  the  season  it  was  intended  to  attack 
along  the  coast  from  the  Yser  positions. 

The  Yser.  — But  on  July  ioth  the  Germans  made  a  sur- 
prise assault  on  these  positions  and  part  of  the  bridge- 
head was  lost.  At  that  moment  the  third  battle  of  Ypres 
had  not  begun,  and  the  coastal  and  Yser  defences  were 
still  maintained  for  some  time.  In  this  part  of  the  scheme 
the  20th  Battalion  took  part,  and  the  novelty,  if  not  the 
importance  of  their  role  deserves  some  record.  On  the 
opening  day  of  the  Ypres  battle  (July  31st)  the  battalion 
detrained  at  Dunkirk  and  embarked  on  barges,  in  which 
they  slept  that  night.  In  the  early  morning  of  August  ioth 
they  were  moved  up  the  canal  to  Bray  dunes.  On  the 
following  day  they  took  over  the  Bray  dunes  defences. 
Posts  between  the  frontier  and  Bray  Plage  were  to  be 
manned  in  case  of  attack  by  the  sea.  It  was  not  a  very 
strenuous  life,  and  the  battalion  were  able  to  put  in  a 
fortnight's  training.  On  the  15th  they  moved  to  Kuhn 
Camp,  near  Oost  Dunkerque,  and  on  the  following  day 
marched  via  Welpem  and  Nieuport  to  take  over  trenches 
in  the  Lombartzyde  sector.  C  Company  occupied  Nose 
Trench  below  the  Lombartzyde  position  and  received  a 
welcome  from  gas  shells  on  arrival.  Little  beyond  the 
ordinary  routine  marked  this  tour  of  the  trenches,  and 
they  were  in  support  when  B  Company  had  to  go  up  to 


BATTLE  OF  YPRES,   JULY  31ST,   1917     183 

the  line  suddenly  on  the  night  of  August  25th  to  support 

the  Camerons  who  had  been  compelled  to  evacuate  the 

Geleide    Brook    position.     B    Company    took    over   and 

organised  Nasal  Trench,  and  held  two  posts  on  the  Geleide 

Brook.     It  was  their  last  active  part  in  the  work  of  this 

sector,  for  they  were  relieved  on  August  27th,  and  on  the 

last  day  of  the  month  went  into  training  near  St.  Omer. 

Though   they  had  been  involved  in  little  beyond   the 

ordinary  trench  activity  they  had  lost,  in  the  month,  63, 

including  12  killed. 

*  *  *  * 

By  this  time  the  third  battle  of  Ypres  had  been 
launched  and  had  shown  those  features  that,  in  the  end, 
robbed  it  of  the  strategic  significance  expected  when  it 
was  planned.  On  July  31st  two  Royal  Fusilier  battalions 
took  an  active  part  in  the  opening  attack.  They  were 
engaged  on  a  sector  that  from  the  beginning  meant  hard 
fighting  and  little  success.  The  26th  Royal  Fusiliers 
attacked  at  Battle  Wood,  but  little  progress  was  made. 
An  hour  before  zero,  which  was  at  3.50  a.m.,  a  heavy  rain 
began  to  fall  and  the  ground  was  a  mass  of  water-logged 
shell-holes.  The  men  could  hardly  keep  their  foothold, 
and  it  is  surprising  that  the  battalion  lost  no  more  than 
160  killed,  wounded  and  missing. 

On  the  right  of  the  41st  Division,  of  which  the  26th 
Battalion  formed  part,  was  the  24th  Division,  containing 
the  1st  and  12th  Battalions.  The  1st  attacked  at  zero 
with  the  12th  Battalion  200  yards  in  the  rear.  The 
leading  companies  as  usual  clung  closely  to  the  barrage. 
A  number  of  casualties  were  sustained  as  the  men  crossed 
the  valley  in  which  lies  the  sunken  road  towards  the  eastern 
end  of  Shrewsbury  Wood,  but  the  Germans  did  not 
attempt  to  stand  until  the  strong  point  south  of  Jeffrey 
Avenue  was  reached.  This  trench  runs  from  the  north- 
eastern face  of  Clonmel  Copse  to  the  northern  edge  of 
Shrewsbury  Wood.  At  this  point  the  battalion  were 
held  up  until  Lieutenant  Flack's  party  rushed  it.  Flack 
knocked  out  the  machine  gun  with  a  rifle  grenade,  and 


184     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

was  subsequently  awarded  a  bar  to  the  M.C.  for  this 
service.  This  part  of  the  line  was  then  consolidated. 
C  Company,  under  Captain  Leeming,  reached  the  trench 
on  the  south-western  face  of  Bodmin  Copse,  and  here  he 
was  killed.  The  German  snipers  were  very  active,  and 
C  Company  was  deprived  of  an  efficient  leader.  This 
company  on  the  left  of  the  advance  alone  maintained  its 
direction.  A  very  sustained  fire  had  been  kept  up  from 
Lower  Star  Post,  in  the  heart  of  Shrewsbury  Wood,  and 
it  was  owing  to  this,  apparently,  that  the  battalion  on 
the  ist  Royal  Fusiliers'  right  swerved,  causing  the  Fusiliers' 
right  company  also  to  swerve. 

At  4.15  a.m.  the  12th  Battalion  passed  through  the  ist 
in  Jeffrey  Avenue.  They  had  been  held  up  while  the  ist 
were  reducing  numerous  strong  points,  and  had  suffered 
heavy  loss.  Captain  H.  J.  Cox,  Captain  H.  D.  Doudney, 
Lieutenant  A.  J.  Waby  and  Second  Lieutenant  W.  F. 
Cooper  were  killed,  and  Second  Lieutenant  E.  Cohen  was 
mortally  wounded.  Captain  F.  C.  Day  was  also  wounded. 
These  casualties  could  not  but  gravely  weaken  the 
battalion.  Five  minutes  before  the  12th  passed  through 
the  ist,  Second  Lieutenant  H.  Martin  with  the  signallers 
advanced,  but  he  was  killed  on  the  way  up.  The  advance 
from  Jeffrey  Avenue  had  made  but  little  way  before  it 
was  held  up  at  a  strong  point  on  the  western  edge  of 
Bodmin  Copse.  No.  3  Company  rushed  this  position, 
and  the  12th  pushed  through  the  copse  to  its  eastern  edge, 
but  were  there  held  by  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire.  The 
advance  had  to  be  abandoned  and  a  line  was  established 
enclosing  the  greater  part  of  Bodmin  Copse.  A  strong 
point  was  established  in  the  trench  about  100  yards  to 
the  north-east  of  the  north-eastern  corner  of  the  copse, 
and  there  Lieutenant  N.  P.  Mussbaum  was  wounded. 

That  night  a  final  line  was  established  some  500  yards 
west  of  Bassevillebeek  and  held  by  the  ist  Battalion,  the 
12th,  with  the  3rd  Rifle  Brigade  and  the  Leinsters.  On 
this  day,  the  ist  Battalion  sustained  277  casualties,  12 
being  officers,  3  of  whom  were  killed.     The  12th  Battalion 


CASUALTIES  ON  JULY   31ST  185 

lost  9  officers  and  170  other  ranks,  killed  and  wounded. 
One  officer  was  killed  at  the  jumping-off  place  and  one, 
the  CO.,  had  almost  exactly  the  same  fate  as  the  officer 
he  succeeded.  Battalion  headquarters  were  moved  up  as 
the  advance  made  progress,  and  Lieut. -Colonel  Hope 
Johnstone  was  mortally  wounded  as  he  approached  the 
new  position.  Captain  A.  Simpkins  took  the  command  of 
the  battalion.  Headquarters  were  moved  again  because 
of  the  heavy  shelling  ;  and  even  in  its  third  position  it 
fell  under  a  severe  bombardment.  Messages  failed  to 
reach  headquarters,  the  runners  being  knocked  out  on  the 
way.  As  the  command  of  the  battalion  was  so  gravely 
weakened,  they  were  relieved  at  11  p.m.  Three-quarters 
of  an  hour  before  it  had  begun  to  rain  again,  and  the 
ground  seemed  unnecessarily  irritating  to  the  weary  men 
who  had  to  make  their  way  back  over  it. 

Fighting  was  still  in  progress  on  the  line  south  of  Shrews- 
bury Wood,  and  the  conditions  at  the  front  were  very 
terrible.  Many  wounded  were  still  lying  about  in  shell- 
holes  as  the  stretcher  bearers  had  suffered  so  many  casual- 
ties. Seven  officers  and  69  other  ranks  were  sent  up  to 
the  1st  Battalion  from  the  transport  lines  on  August  2nd, 
and  on  the  next  day  they  moved  back  with  the  12th 

Battalion  to  Micmac  Camp. 

*  *  *  * 

The  32nd,  who  had  moved  up  to  the  front  near  Klein 
Zillebeke,  had  a  strange  experience  on  August  5th.  The 
Germans  had  delivered  counter-attacks  on  various  parts 
of  the  front,  and  on  that  day  the  blow  fell  to  the  left  of  the 
battalion  front.  At  4.10  a.m.  the  enemy  barrage  lifted 
and  the  Germans  advanced  under  cover  of  fog  and  smoke 
bombs.  Only  half  the  front  was  involved  ;  and  there  the 
attack  was  held  up  by  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire.  But  the 
Germans  broke  through  the  right  flank  of  the  battalion 
further  north  and  a  party  of  them  got  to  the  rear  of  the 
32nd  Royal  Fusiliers.  At  midday  it  was  ascertained  that 
the  enemy  were  holding  100  yards  of  Jehovah  Trench, 
which  was  sited  in  a  strip  of  wood  lying  north  of  Klein 


186     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Zillebeke  road  and  some  500  yards  east  of  the  village. 
This  situation  was  cleared  up  by  the  bold  and  decisive 
action  of  Major  Robinson,  Captain  H.  L.  Kirby  and  Second 
Lieutenant  G.  W.  Murrell,  and  when  the  battalion  moved 
back  on  relief,  the  next  day,  the  position  was  restored. 
Major  Robinson  led  a  few  men  against  the  German  detach- 
ment who  had  got  behind  the  centre  post  in  the  forward 
zone  and  succeeded  in  killing  part  of  them  and  dispersing 

the  rest. 

*  *  *  * 

On  August  10th  the  nth  Battalion  took  part  in  one  of 
those  minor  operations  which  are  the  aftermath  of  all 
great  battles  ;  and  it  was  their  fate  to  fight  over  much  the 
same  ground  as  that  on  which  the  4th  Battalion  had 
clashed  with  the  Grenadier  Guard  Regiment  in  the  first 
Battle  of  Ypres.  The  Fusiliers,  the  right  assaulting  batta- 
lion of  the  54th  Brigade,  had  their  right  flank  near  the 
Ypres-Menin  road  ;  and  at  4.35  a.m.  B  Company  (Captain 
Fuller)  on  the  left,  D  (Captain  Gray)  on  the  right,  attacked 
from  this  position.  They  advanced  steadily  against  little 
opposition  until  the  machine-gun  fire  from  Inverness 
Copse — in  the  neighbouring  brigade  area — brought  up 
the  right  flank  and  made  it  swerve  to  the  left.  On  the 
left,  however,  the  men  penetrated  some  distance  into  Glen- 
corse  Wood,  despite  the  ten  or  twelve  "  pill-boxes  "  stand- 
ing like  sentinels  on  the  edge,  some  200  yards  from  the 
south-west  corner  of  the  wood.  Some  of  D  Company  also 
got  well  forward  and,  with  Captain  Gray,  reached  Fitz- 
clarence  Farm.  Gray  was  there  shot  through  both  knees, 
but  continued  to  fire  from  a  shell-hole.  Fuller  was  shot 
through  the  head  in  a  gallant  attempt  to  rush  a  machine- 
gun  emplacement. 

As  a  natural  consequence,  a  gap  was  made  between  the 
nth  Battalion  and  the  brigade  on  their  right.  In  less 
than  two  hours  all  the  officers  of  the  assaulting  companies 
were  casualties,  and  a  counter-attack  was  initiated  by  the 
Germans.  The  Fusiliers  were  out  of  touch  with  the  troops 
on  both  flanks  ;   and  a  skilful  bombing  attack  down  the 


SECOND  ATTACK  AT  YPRES,  AUGUST  i6th     187 

Jargon  and  Jap  Trenches  rendered  their  position  impossible 
to  maintain.  Issuing  from  Inverness  Copse  the  Germans 
almost  penetrated  to  the  rear  of  (C)  the  support  company. 
Despite  the  cool  and  courageous  handling  of  the  men  by 
the  N.C.O.'s,  Sergeants  Wilson,  Berry  and  Burch,  and 
Corporal  Hallett,  the  Fusiliers  could  only  remain  where 
they  were  at  the  imminent  peril  of  envelopment.  They 
were  compelled  to  retire  and  establish  themselves  some 
200  yards  east  of  Clapham  Junction,  in  touch  with  the 
55th  Brigade  on  the  right.  Some  of  the  men  were  cut  off, 
and  one  of  them  gave  a  good  account  of  himself.  Private 
Arthur  Jakes  remained  calmly  in  an  advanced  shell-hole, 
sniping  all  the  day,  and  at  night  found  his  way  through 
the  German  lines  back  to  his  battalion.  The  nth  re- 
mained in  their  position  until  4  a.m.  on  August  nth 
when  they  were  relieved.  They  went  back  to  Dickebusch 
huts  weaker  by  17  officers  and  328  other  ranks  than  when 
they  entered  battle. 

Battle  of  Langemarck. — On  August  16th  the  "  second 
attack  "  was  launched,  and  the  Royal  Fusiliers  were  repre- 
sented in  it  by  the  battalions  of  the  London  Regiment. 
But  practically  no  progress  was  made.  The  "  pill-boxes," 
which  had  proved  so  formidable  an  obstacle  to  the  Royal 
Fusiliers  on  August  10th,  and  even  at  the  end  of  the 
Messines  battle,  now  began  to  attract  official  attention. 
Nothing  short  of  a  direct  hit  put  them  out  of  action, 
and  standing  inconspicuously  but  a  few  feet  above  the 
ground  it  was  almost  impossible  to  hit  them  except  by 
chance.  It  was  the  "  pill-boxes  "  that  proved  too  much 
for  the  London  Regiment.  The  2nd  Londons  attacked 
on  the  left  of  the  London  Rifle  Brigade,  eastwards  and 
slightly  north  from  the  western  face  of  Glencorse  Wood. 
The  men  fought  very  gallantly  and  reached  all  objec- 
tives, but  the  flanking  battalions  had  found  it  difficult 
to  maintain  themselves  when  the  objective  was  reached. 
The  machine-gun  fire  was  very  heavy,  and  Nonne  Boschen 
and  Polygon  Wood  provided  ample  cover.  In  spite  of 
this  one  officer  reached  the  racecourse  in  Polygon  Wood 


188     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE    GREAT    WAR 

with  his  platoon,  where,  fighting  desperately,  he  was  sur- 
rounded and  forced  to  surrender,  when  quite  defenceless 
from  lack  of  ammunition.  Before  doing  so,  however,  he 
was  able  to  send  a  message  by  pigeon  :  "  Ammunition  and 
bombs  exhausted.  Completely  surrounded.  Regret  no 
course  but  to  surrender."  Colonel  Kellett  and  almost  all 
the  officers  became  casualties  ;  and  at  length  the  battalion 
with  their  neighbour  had  to  go  back  to  the  starting  point. 
With  one  officer,  Captain  Stevens,  the  adjutant,  and  about 
50  other  ranks,  they  were  withdrawn. 

The  4th  Londons,  attacking  between  Glencorse  Wood 
and  Inverness  Copse,  had  an  even  worse  fate.  They  came 
up  against  the  "  pill-box  "  system  which  had  neutralised 
the  success  of  August  10th,  and  the  objectives  were  never 
taken.  The  battalion  lost  heavily  in  the  unequal  struggle. 
And  the  3rd  Londons  also  failed  to  capture  their  objec- 
tives. In  each  case  where  the  troops  achieved  success 
they  found  themselves  gravely  weakened  when  the  speedy 
and  heavy  counter-attack  was  launched.  The  bad 
weather  made  aeroplane  reconnaissance  practically  impos- 
sible ;  and  hence  there  was  no  warning  of  the  counter- 
attacks and  no  artillery  support  against  them.  The  new 
tactics  led  to  a  modification  of  the  artillery  tactics  and  the 
readjustment  of  the  command,  so  that  the  Menin  road 
area  could  be  placed  as  a  separate  feature  under  one  com- 
mander. The  sector  was  entrusted  to  Sir  Herbert 
Plumer. 

On  August  16th  another  Fusilier  Battalion,  the  2nd, 
were  ready  to  attack  north  of  the  Ypres-Thorout  railway, 
if  called  upon,  being  attached  to  the  88th  Brigade  for  the 
purpose.  But  the  29th  Division's  attack  was  so  successful 
that  the  battalion  were  not  called  upon,  and  reverted 
naturally  to  the  orders  of  the  86th  Brigade.  It  was  on 
this  night  that  a  shell  falling  outside  headquarters  severely 
wounded  Second  Lieutenant  Hewlett  and  killed  C.S.M. 
Rolfe — a  great  loss,  for  Rolfe  had  always  carried  himself 
in  action  with  conspicuous  gallantry. 

An  amusing  incident  occurred  in  this  sector  of  the  line 


PATROL  ACTION,   AUGUST  22ND  189 

two  days  later.  Two  men  of  the  2nd  Battalion  were 
carrying  water  to  the  advanced  trenches  when  they  lost 
their  way.  They  were  unarmed,  and  they  ought  to  have 
felt  duly  depressed  when  they  ran  into  an  armed  German 
patrol  of  three  men.  However,  arguing  that  the  best 
defence  is  a  resolute  offensive  they  at  once  attacked  and 
captured  the  enemy,  a  striking  and  amusing  illustration 
of  the  difference  between  German  and  British  morale. 

On  August  22nd,  a  patrol  of  the  1st  Battalion,  who  were 
then  in  the  line  near  Bodmin  Copse,  carried  out  a  minor 
operation  which  was  thought  sufficiently  good  to  merit 
the  study  of  all  the  battalions  in  the  II.  Corps.  The 
G.O.C.  sent  round  a  report  which  may  be  printed  here  : 
"  Following  account  of  a  minor  operation  is  forwarded 
for  information  as  an  example  of  the  success  which  attends 
good  leadership  and  initiative  when  coupled  with  the 
correct  use  of  fire  to  cover  movement.  Efficient  recon- 
naissance prior  to  the  operation  ensured  that  the  fire  of 
the  light  trench  mortars  was  both  effective  and  accurate, 
and  this  conduced  largely  to  the  success  of  the 
operation. 

"  At  zero  two  trench  mortars  opened  fire  on  the  enemy's 
strong  point,  quickening  the  rate  of  fire  at  zero  plus  five 
minutes.  At  zero  plus  seven  minutes  the  trench  mortars 
lengthened  range  and  the  infantry  advanced. 

"  The  assaulting  troops — about  a  platoon  * — advanced 
in  two  waves,  and  were  stubbornly  opposed  by  the  enemy 
with  rifle  fire  and  bombs.  Second  Lieutenant  Stonebanks 
at  once  ordered  his  flanks  to  swing  round  and  come  in  on 
the  flanks  of  the  strong  point,  the  centre  meanwhile 
keeping  up  a  heavy  fire  on  the  enemy's  position  and  dis- 
tracting his  attention. 

"  The  enemy,  finding  himself  surrounded,  surrendered. 

"  The  assaulting  party  pushed  on  to  a  second  strong 
point  which  was  found  unoccupied.  This  was  at  once 
consolidated   and   a   German   machine   gun,   which   was 

*  One  officer  and  20  men  actually,  who  accounted  for  double  their 
number,  fighting  in  prepared  positions. 


igo     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

captured  with  a  large  quantity  of  ammunition,  was 
brought  into  action  against  the  enemy. 

"  Five  of  the  enemy  were  killed  and  35  taken  prisoner, 
of  whom  five  were  wounded. 

"  Our  casualties  were  four  other  ranks  wounded,  two 
of  whom  are  at  duty." 

It  only  remains  to  add  that  Second  Lieutenant  Stone- 
banks  was  himself  wounded,  but  the  brilliant  little 
operation  deserved  the  praise  it  received.     Stonebanks 

received  the  M.C. 

*  *  *  * 

After  the  attack  on  August  16th  the  wet  weather  and 
the  arrangement  of  new  tactics  to  suit  the  new  elastic 
defence  of  the  Germans  imposed  a  long  interval  in  the 
operations  ;  and,  although  minor  assaults  were  delivered 
here  and  there,  no  further  concerted  movement  took  place 
in  this  area  until  September  20th.  There  was  minor 
activity  on  other  parts  of  the  line.  Several  heavy  raids, 
for  instance,  were  carried  out  by  the  4th  Battalion  in 
the  Lagnicourt  sector.  On  August  8th,  on  taking  over 
trenches  there,  the  battalion  had  discovered  a  German 
telephone  wire  leading  from  the  wire  in  front  of  one  of 
their  posts  towards  the  German  line.  Major  Winnington 
Barnes  put  an  end  to  any  usefulness  it  might  have  by 
cutting  it  about  60  yards  from  the  German  wire.  On 
the  17th  they  began  an  exchange  of  compliments  with 
the  enemy  by  delivering  a  gas  attack,  which  was  acknow- 
ledged by  a  bombardment  of  3,000  shells.  Strong  raiding 
patrols  carried  out  operations  on  the  23rd,  29th  and  30th. 

Menin  Road  Ridge. — In  the  Ypres  area  the  second 
line  battalions  of  the  London  Regiment  were  engaged  on 
September  20th.  These  battalions  were  originally  third 
line  battalions,  but  the  second  line  battalions  had  been 
amalgamated  with  the  first  in  May,  1916,  and  the  third, 
thereupon,  became  the  second.  The  2/3  Londons  were 
in  the  173rd  Brigade  and  operated  on  the  right  of  the 
division  north  of  St.  Julien  ;  and  all  the  battalions  had 
uniform  success  on  this  occasion,  taking  their  objectives 


ATTACK  OF  SEPTEMBER  20TH  191 

with  distinct  skill.  It  was  to  some  extent  a  justifica- 
tion of  the  new  tactics  ;  but  it  was  also  an  endorsement 
of  the  training  and  morale  of  these  battalions  in  their  first 
major  operation.  Schuber  Farm  was  gallantly  rushed  by 
the  2/4  Londons,  with  the  help  of  the  8th  Liverpool  Irish 
and  two  tanks. 

Below  the  Ypres-Menin  road  the  26th  and  32nd 
Battalions  were  engaged,  their  object  being  the  Tower 
Hamlets  spur.  The  26th  were  on  the  left  and  the  32nd 
on  the  right  of  the  brigade  front,  both  battalions  being 
in  support,  with  their  front  on  the  road  running  north 
from  the  west  of  Lower  Star  Post.  The  approach  was 
characteristic  of  the  time  and  place.  The  26th  had  to 
step  off  the  duckboard  track  to  allow  the  32nd  to  get  in 
front.  This  meant  stepping  into  the  mud  which  clung 
to  several  of  the  men  so  tightly  that  they  found  very 
great  difficulty  in  getting  out  again.  At  zero  both 
battalions  moved  forward  so  close  to  the  barrage  that  the 
German  barrage  fell  behind  them.  The  26th  ran  into 
heavy  machine-gun  fire  almost  at  once  ;  but  for  the  first 
200  yards  the  32nd  found  no  opposition  until  the  fire  from 
the  left  checked  them.  Lying  out  in  shell-holes  the 
Germans  inflicted  heavy  casualties  on  the  right  of  the  26th 
and  the  left  of  the  32nd. 

At  this  point  the  majority  of  the  officers  of  the  32nd 
had  become  casualties.  The  front  assaulting  battalion 
had  been  almost  wiped  out.  But  A  Company,  under 
Second  Lieutenant  Christie,  and  B  under  the  C.S.M., 
pushed  right  and  left,  respectively,  and  the  advance  was 
enabled  to  resume  progress.  Through  the  check,  the 
advantage  of  the  barrage  had  been  lost,  but  the  enemy 
now  put  up  little  opposition.  Small  parties  of  Germans 
began  to  come  forward  with  white  flags,  and  the  Fusiliers 
thus  encouraged,  made  another  spurt  forward.  By 
9.0  a.m.  the  two  first  objectives  had  been  captured. 
The  32nd  had  now  lost  more  than  half  its  strength,  and 
no  further  progress  could  be  made  against  the  fierce  and 
sustainedjnachine-gun  fire. 


192     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

The  26th  had  fared  no  better.  Lieut. -Colonel  G. 
McNichol,  D.S.O.,  was  killed  early  in  the  battle,  and 
Major  A.  Maxwell,  who  took  over  the  command,  was 
awarded  the  D.S.O.  for  his  gallantry  and  skilful  leadership. 
All  the  officers  but  one  were  either  killed  or  wounded. 
Indeed,  in  less  than  ten  minutes  there  was  only  one 
unwounded  officer  of  the  19  who  had  gone  forward.  But 
Lieutenant  S.  H.  Firth  and  Second  Lieutenant  F.  A.  B. 
Jones  *  finding  they  were  the  only  officers  in  the  front 
line,  held  on  with  a  small  body  of  men.  No  communica- 
tion could  be  obtained  with  headquarters  until  a  staff 
officer  arrived  with  some  pigeons.  A  message  was  at 
once  sent  off  by  pigeon,  and  at  four  o'clock  in  the  after- 
noon the  20th  Durham  Light  Infantry  came  up.  The 
enemy  had  now  got  the  range  of  the  position,  and  so 
effective  was  their  fire  that  the  five  Fusilier  officers,  who 
were  sent  up  just  before  dark  were  all  casualties  within 
two  hours,  four  being  killed  and  one  wounded. 

At  one  time  the  line  was  broken  on  the  left,  and  the 
men  in  the  support  line  on  the  right  were  turned  about, 
righting  with  their  backs  to  the  front  line.  Their  unex- 
pected volley  checked  the  German  advance  and  the  left 
flank  recovered.  On  the  morning  of  the  22nd  no  food  and 
little  ammunition  remained  from  what  had  been  brought 
up  on  the  night  of  the  19th,  and  Private  Sturgis  volunteered 
to  go  back  for  supplies.  Three  times  on  his  way  back  he 
was  blown  up,  and  when  at  length  he  found  battalion 
headquarters  he  fainted.  But  as  soon  as  he  recovered 
he  started  off  with  a  party  carrying  food  and  ammunition. 
The  enemy  barrage  caught  them  about  half  way,  and  the 
party  were  inclined  to  run  back.  But  Sturgis  threatened 
to  shoot  them  if  they  did  not  go  forward  ;  and  at  length 
they  came  to  the  front  line.  When  the  battalion  was 
withdrawn  in  the  early  morning  of  the  24th,  they  had 
suffered  363  casualties,  including  23  officers.     This  was 

*  Second  Lieutenant  Jones  was  wounded  in  the  chest  early  in  the 
fight.  A  little  later  a  shell  exploded  near  him  and  burst  the  drums  of 
both  ears.    But  it  was  not  until  two  days  later  that  he  reported  wounded 


FOURTH  BATTALION  AT  BREMEN  REDOUBT  193 

the  heaviest  casualty  list  the  battalion  had  ever  incurred 
in  a  single  operation.  The  Menin  road  area  continued  to 
be  true  to  its  reputation. 

Battle  of  Polygon  Wood. — On  September  26th  the 
4th  Battalion  began  a  series  of  operations  which  add  a 
touch  of  relief  to  the  bitter  and  unsuccessful  fighting  on 
the  Menin  road  area.  So  fine  was  their  discipline,  and  so 
skilfully  were  they  handled  that  all  orders  were  carried 
out  with  precision  that  was  only  too  rare  in  this  terrible 
battle.  The  battalion  stood  to  in  the  Zonnebeke  area  at 
zero,  5.50  a.m.,  while  the  3rd  Division  attacked.  At 
3  p.m.  the  battalion  received  a  verbal  warning  that  they 
might  have  to  reinforce  the  line  as  the  attack  on  Hill  40, 
just  north  of  the  Ypres-Roulers  railway,  and  near  Zonne- 
beke, had  been  unsuccessful,  and  in  this  case  they  would 
come  under  the  orders  of  the  8th  Brigade.  Major  Win- 
nington  Barnes  was  at  this  time  in  command,  as  Colonel 
Hely  Hutchinson  had  been  attached  to  the  4th  Division 
as  liason  officer  the  day  before. 

At  5.30  p.m.  this  order  was  confirmed  in  writing  and 
the  battalion  were  ordered  to  occupy  the  old  British  front 
line  in  Bremen  Redoubt.  This  movement  carried  out  in 
daylight  under  full  observation  was  the  source  of  many 
casualties.  Low-flying  German  aeroplanes  bombed  them 
as  they  were  forming  up,  and  signalled  the  position  to  the 
enemy  artillery.  As  a  consequence  a  heavy  barrage  was 
put  down,  but  despite  severe  losses  the  battalion  were  in 
no  way  disorganised  and  moved  forward  in  great  style. 
On  taking  up  position  at  the  Bremen  Redoubt  the  Fusiliers 
again  suffered  heavily.  The  barrage  was  now  on  the 
redoubt,  and  it  was  with  the  utmost  difficulty  that  the 
men  could  be  got  to  their  positions.  In  front  of  them  this 
determined  German  resistance  had  produced  some  dis- 
organisation in  the  attacking  force,  and  it  was  decided  to 
move  the  battalion  forward  to  a  ridge  some  300  yards  in 
front  of  the  Bremen  Redoubt.  This  position  was  taken 
up  and  all  stragglers  in  the  neighbourhood  were  rallied. 
The  shell  fire  continued  to  be  severe,  and  the  losses  heavy. 


194     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

The  ground  was  very  bad,  and  it  was  difficult  to  collect 
the  men  in  the  midst  of  the  heavy  bombardments  when 
the  battalion  were  ordered  to  move  forward  at  i  a.m.  on 
the  27th.  Their  new  position  was  between  200  and  300 
yards  west  of  the  road  running  north-west  from  Zonnebeke, 
with  the  right  flank  about  400  yards  north  of  the  railway. 
In  the  morning  the  battalion  had  two  companies  in  front 
and  two  in  rear,  with  the  13th  King's  on  the  right  and  the 
59th  Division  on  the  left. 

At  2  p.m.  the  battalion  were  ordered  to  move  forward 
and  occupy  a  line  some  200  to  250  yards  west  of  the  road 
from  Zonnebeke  station  to  Jacob's  House  and  to  connect 
up  with  the  East  Yorks  and  K.S.L.I.,  still  keeping  touch 
with  the  13th  King's  on  the  right.  In  spite  of  the  heavy 
machine-gun  and  rifle  fire  from  Hill  40,  which  caused 
many  casualties,  the  movement  was  carried  out  in  good 
order.  The  two  battalions  on  the  left,  holding  a  line  of 
shell-holes  to  Jacob's  House  were  relieved  by  the  Royal 
Fusiliers  on  the  night  of  September  28th  ;  and  the  bat- 
talion dug  and  consolidated  two  lines  of  trenches  along 
the  whole  of  their  front  to  the  left  of  the  13th  King's.  On 
September  30th  they  were  relieved,  after  a  tour  of  four 
days,  during  which  time  they  had  carried  out  every  duty 
allotted  to  them  with  perfect  discipline  and  efficiency. 
Their  casualty  list  totalled  205,  but  they  had  found  a 
crumbling  position  and  they  left  one  established  and 
organised. 

It  was  on  September  30th  that  the  13th  Battalion  were 
called  upon  to  deal  with  a  local  counter-attack.  They 
were  lying  at  the  time  astride  the  Menin  road,  with  an 
advanced  blockhouse  near  the  western  edge  of  Gheluvelt 
Wood.  At  5.30  a.m.  a  heavy  bombardment  by  trench 
mortars  was  opened  by  the  Germans  on  the  whole  position, 
and  the  support  lines  as  far  back  as  Bassevillebeek  valley 
came  under  a  heavy  barrage.  Ten  minutes  later  the 
advanced  post,  which  was  held  at  the  time  by  Second 
Lieutenant  Shorman  and  10  other  ranks  of  No.  2  Company, 
was  attacked  by  about  300  Germans,  armed  with  jlamm  en- 


13TH    BATTALION    AT    MENIN    ROAD       195 

werfer.  After  a  short  and  fierce  struggle  the  post  was 
captured,  all  the  garrison  being  killed  or  wounded.  An 
immediate  counter-attack  was  organised  by  Captain  T. 
Whitehead,  commanding  No.  2  Company,  and  very  swiftly 
the  blockhouse  was  cleared  of  all  the  enemy.  Second 
Lieutenant  Shorman,  who  was  badly  burned  and  was  last 
seen  fighting,  was  missing.  Second  Lieutenant  H.  C. 
Bevan,  who  had  been  on  patrol  at  the  moment  of  the 
attack,  was  found  beside  the  post  badly  wounded  ;  and 
the  total  casualties  were  26  in  an  operation  which  occupied 
a  very  short  space  of  time,  but  was  carried  out  with  bitter 
hand-to-hand  fighting.  The  morning  mists  had  prevented 
the  rifle  grenade  rocket  from  being  seen,  and  there  was 
consequently  no  artillery  support,  though  the  whole 
battalion  on  the  right  had  a  barrage  put  down  on  their 
front.  Captain  Whitehead  was  awarded  the  M.C.  for  his 
skilful  and  energetic  leadership,  and  C.S.M.  J.  Edwards 
and  Private  W.  Digby,  both  of  No.  2  Company,  received 
the  D.C.M.  The  battalion  also  received  the  congratula- 
tions of  the  Brigadier,*  the  Divisional  f  and  the  Corps 
commanders. 

Battle  of  Broodseinde. — Five  similar  attacks  were 
delivered  by  the  Germans  on  October  1st.  Yet  another 
was  launched  on  the  morning  of  the  3rd,  and  that  night 
there  was  a  heavy  gale  with  much  rain.  But  the  advance 
was  resumed  once  more.  The  13th  Battalion  took  part 
in  the  attack  with  the  10th  supporting.  Since  repelling 
the  German  attack  on  September  30th,  they  had  lost 
heavily  from  the  enemy  bombardment.  No.  2  Company 
in  Bodmin  Copse  suffered  very  seriously  on  October  2nd, 
when  No.  1  Company  was  practically  wiped  out,  and 
No.  3  Company's  carrying  parties  lost  heavily.  The 
remainder  of  No.  2  Company  was  divided  between  Nos.  1 
and  3  ;  and  when  the  battalion  attacked  its  total  strength 
was  13  officers  and  233  other  ranks.     The  role  of  the 

*  "  You  have  worthily  upheld  the  traditions  of  your  regiment." 
t   "  For   very   gallant  defence  and  prompt  and  successful  counter- 
attack." 

©  2 


196    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

battalion  on  October  4th  was  to  seize  the  dug-outs  strung 
across  the  northern  part  of  Gheluvelt  Wood  and  form  a 
defensive  flank  to  the  5th  Division  who  were  engaged 
north  of  the  Menin  road.  The  battalion  were  in  position 
at  5.15  a.m.,  and  a  quarter  of  an  hour  later  a  heavy  German 
barrage  was  put  down.  Fortunately  for  the  battalion  it 
fell  chiefly  north  of  the  Menin  road.  Zero  was  at  6  a.m., 
and  at  that  moment  the  battalion  advanced,  following 
the  barrage  so  closely  that  though  the  German  artillery 
were  very  prompt  in  their  counter-barrage  the  assaulting 
troops  suffered  very  little.  But  they  encountered  a  heavy 
rifle  and  machine-gun  fire  from  a  blockhouse  and  also 
from  Lewis  House  which  had  escaped  the  bombardment. 

The  13th  King's  Royal  Rifle  Corps,  who  were  to  have 
raided  Lewis  House,  were  therefore  unable  to  effect  much 
there,  and  this  unreduced  centre,  lying  to  the  right  front 
of  the  Royal  Fusiliers,  was  chiefly  responsible  for  their 
failure  to  carry  the  objective.     Their  original  line  faced 
roughly  east.     To  capture  the  line  of  blockhouses  in 
Gheluvelt  Wood  they  had  to  wheel  so  as  to  take  up  a  final 
position  facing  towards  the  south.     This  operation  brought 
them  more  and  more  under  the  fire  from  Lewis  House,  and 
Second  Lieutenant  A.  A.  Allen's  leading  platoon  were  at 
one  point  reduced  to  two.     Later  on  he  collected  14  men, 
but  the  flanking  fire  from  Lewis  House  and  the  blockhouses 
compelled  him  to  dig  in.     No.  3  Company  suffered  heavily 
from  the  short  firing  of  our  own  field  guns,  but  established 
their  line  with  less  difficulty.     It  was  not  until  night  that 
touch  was  gained  with  the  Royal  West  Kents  on  the  left. 
At  first  their  right  flank  had  been  in  the  rear  of  the 
Fusiliers'  left,  but  towards  the  end  of  the  day  the  advance 
was  continued,  and  finally  their  right  forward  post  was 
some  100  yards  in  front  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers.     Though 
the  13th  Battalion  had  not  secured  their  final  objective, 
they  had  covered  the  flank  of  the  5th  Division,  and  the 
major  part  of  the  task  given  them  was  carried  out.     In 
killed,  wounded  and  missing  they  lost  208  officers  and  men 
out  of  the  246  who  had  gone  into  battle. 


ATTACK  OF  OCTOBER  qth       197 

Battle  of  Poelcapelle. — The  weather  now  appeared 
to  have  definitely  broken.     In  the  early  days  of  October 
it  had  been  intermittently  rainy.     On  the  7th  heavy  rain 
again  fell  all  day.     These  conditions  interfered  with  the 
artillery  preparations  ;    and,  though  it  was  possible  to 
crush  two  hostile  attacks  on  the  7  th,  the  perfection  of 
counter-battery  work,  which  was  needed  to  cover  a  further 
advance,   was  impossible.     The   night   of   the   8th   was 
almost  as  terrible  as  any  experienced  in  the  campaign.    It 
was  impenetrably  black.     The  ground  was  deluged  with 
rain,  and  a  high  wind  drove  the  rain  into  the  men's  faces 
with  the  sting  of  whips.     It  was  perilous  to  stray  from  the 
path,  for  the  ground  was  now  for  the  most  part  a  trough 
of   mud.     Under  such   conditions   it   was   not   easy   to 
assemble  for  the  attack  in  the  early  hours  of  the  9th.    But 
somehow  the  troops  had  become  inured  to  such  conditions, 
and  the  2nd  Battalion  were  in  their  places  at  zero.     The 
attack  was  launched  at  5.20  a.m.  in  conjunction  with  the 
French.     Once  more  there  was  little  from  which  to  draw 
satisfaction  in  the  role  of  the  battalion.     They  were  in 
support  to  the  Lancashire  Fusiliers,  on  the  right  of  the 
29th  Division,  about  500  yards  south  of  the  Ypres-Staden 
railway.     Captain  Hood,  with  two  platoons  of  Y  Com- 
pany, pushed  forward  to  reinforce  the  leading  battalion 
and  came  under  severe  rifle  fire  after  crossing  the  Conde 
House- (or  Houthulst-)  Poelcapelle  road.     But,  advancing 
from  shell-hole  to  shell-hole,  they  got  forward  about  200 
yards  east  of  the  road  and  were  then  brought  to  a  stand- 
still by  sustained  fire  from  the  right  front.     The  4th  Divi- 
sion on  the  right  could  not  be  located,  and  Corporal  Floyd 
sent  out  with  a  patrol  reported  a  gap  of  300  yards  on  this 
flank.    The  second  objective  had  not  been  made  good  ; 
there  were  no  supports,  and,  accordingly,  Captain  Hood 
consolidated  the  line  from  about  250  yards  north  of  Conde 
House  to  about  100  yards  north  of  Miller's  House. 

Second  Lieutenant  Saul,  with  the  right  platoon  of  Z 
Company,  followed  Y  Company.  The  other  officers  of  Z 
became   casualties ;    and   Saul   followed   Hood,   passing 


198     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

through  a  few  groups  of  Lancashire  Fusiliers  in  shell-holes, 
until  he  was  drawn  off  to  the  right,  near  the  huts,  about 
300  yards  north-east  of  the  Mill  on  the  Poelcapelle- 
Houthulst  road,  where  he  was  held  up  by  rifle  fire.  On  the 
left  X  Company,  followed  by  W,  advanced  by  the  watch, 
passed  through  a  line  of  Lancashire  Fusiliers  in  shell-holes 
and  prepared  to  advance  on  the  third  objective.  They 
were  in  contact  with  the  Worcesters  on  the  left,  but  could 
not  locate  any  one  on  the  right ;  and  the  line  of  Lanca- 
shires  who  were  thought  to  be  in  front  did  not  exist.  They 
went  forward  once  more  by  the  watch  ;  but  the  right  was 
held  up  by  short  shooting  of  our  own  barrage  at  Conde 
House,  and  when  they  could  advance  again  the  protection 
of  the  barrage  had  been  lost. 

It  was  at  Conde  House  that  Sergeant  J.  Molyneux  won 
the  V.C.  From  the  trench  in  front  of  the  house  a  machine 
gun  kept  up  a  persistent  fire  on  the  advancing  troops. 
Molyneux,  who  belonged  to  W  Company,  seeing  that  the 
attack  was  completely  checked,  at  once  organised  a 
bombing  party  to  clear  the  trench.  Many  of  the  Germans 
were  killed,  and  the  machine  gun  was  captured.  Molyneux 
then  jumped  out  of  the  trench,  and,  calling  on  the  men  to 
follow,  rushed  forward  against  Conde  House.  He  was 
well  in  front,  and,  when  the  others  arrived,  he  was  in  the 
thick  of  a  hand-to-hand  fight.  So  swift  and  impetuous 
had  been  the  assault  that  the  struggle  was  soon  over. 
Some  20  to  30  prisoners  were  taken,  and  the  position, 
which  had  threatened  to  bring  the  whole  battalion  to  a 
standstill,  was  captured.  His  action  was  as  serviceable 
as  it  was  daring. 

But  despite  the  heroism  of  the  advance,  the  final 
objective  could  not  be  reached.  No  troops  were  found 
ahead,  and  the  second  objective  had  not  been  taken.  A 
line  was  therefore  established  with  the  right  about  200 
yards  below  the  road  which  runs  from  the  Poelcapelle- 
Houthulst  road  north-east  to  the  Ypres-Staden  railway, 
and  the  left  resting  on  the  Poelcapclle-Houthulst  road 
about  200  yards  below  the  railway.     It  was  literally  a 


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CONDITIONS   OF  1HE  FIGHTING  199 

filthy  advance  ;  it  was  costly  ;  it  was  unsatisfactory. 
The  battalion  had  advanced  according  to  plan,  but 
apparently  no  one  else  had.  There  was  no  obvious  land- 
mark to  stake  out  the  day's  work  and  round  off  their 
ordeal.  But  it  was  not  so  much  a  misfortune  of  the 
battalion's  as  a  general  characteristic  of  the  operations  in 
this  phase  of  the  battle. 

"  By  this  time  the  persistent  continuation  of  wet 
weather  had  left  no  further  room  for  hope  that  the  condi- 
tion of  the  ground  would  improve  sufficiently  to  enable  us 
to  capture  the  remainder  of  the  ridge  this  year.  By  limited 
attacks  made  during  intervals  of  better  weather,  however, 
it  would  still  be  possible  to  progress  as  far  as  Passchen- 
daele,  and,  in  view  of  the  other  projects  which  I  had  in 
view,  it  was  desirable  to  maintain  the  pressure  on  the 
Flanders'  front  for  a  few  weeks  longer. 

"  To  maintain  his  defence  on  this  front  the  enemy  had 
been  obliged  to  reduce  the  garrison  of  certain  parts  of  his 
line  to  a  degree  which  justified  the  expectation  that  a 
sudden  attack  at  a  point  where  he  did  not  expect  it  might 
attain  a  considerable  local  success.  The  front  for  such  an 
attempt  had  been  selected.  .  .  ."  * 

Such  thoughts,  however,  were  not  the  inspiration  of  the 
troops,  who  had  only  their  determination  to  see  the  thing 
through  to  carry  them  over  an  ordeal  that  remains  almost 
indescribable.  Another  local  attack  was  made  on  October 
12th  despite  the  heavy  rain  that  continued  almost  through- 
out the  day.  There  was  a  further  attack  on  October  22nd, 
and  the  nth  Battalion  were  called  upon  to  hold  the  posi- 
tions taken  by  the  10th  Essex,  who  had  successfully 
attacked  the  brewery  east  of  Poelcapelle,  until  the  24th. 
They  were  then  relieved  and  passed  to  Dirty  Bucket  Camp, 
a  very  aptly  described  place. 

Second  Battle  of  Passchendaele. — On  October  25th 
a  strong  west  wind  somewhat  dried  the  surface  of  the 
ground  and  the  night  was  fine.  The  stars  shone  out  with 
the  sharpened  clarity  of  a  frosty  atmosphere.     Another 

*  Despatch. 


200     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

small  attack  was  planned  for  the  26th  ;  and  the  2nd  line 
battalions  of  the  London  Regiment  took  up  their  positions 
with  the  58th  Division,  below  the  Poelcapelle-Spriet  road. 
The  2/2  Londons,  attacking  at  5.40  a.m.,  reached  Cameron 
House — about  250  yards  below  the  Poelcapelle-Spriet 
road — at  7.15  a.m.  A  Company  under  Captain  Harper 
cleared  three  of  the  four  "  pill-boxes  "  at  this  point  and 
sent  back  17  prisoners.  D  Company,  in  command  of 
Second  Lieutenant  J.  P.  Howie  at  6.30  a.m.  reached  a 
"  pill-box  "  about  200  yards  above  the  Lekkerboterbeek 
and  stormed  it,  capturing  32  prisoners  ;  and  three-quarters 
of  an  hour  later  had  to  repel  hostile  counter-attacks 
directed  against  this  point  and  Cameron  House.  A  Com- 
pany, finding  their  flank  uncovered  by  the  retirement  of 
the  unit  on  their  left,  were  compelled  to  withdraw ;  but 
D  clung  to  the  mebus  they  had  captured  until  the  end  of 
the  day.  Moray  House,  lying  about  550  yards  due  east  of 
this  "pill-box,"  held  up  C  Company  all  the  day.  The 
casualties  were  11  officers  (3  killed)  and  386  other 
ranks. 

The  2/3  Londons  were  not  so  fortunate.  The  men  were 
up  to  their  waists  in  mud,  and  it  was  almost  impossible 
to  reach  the  enemy,  who  shot  down  the  men  as  they 
struggled  to  advance.  Nevertheless  they  managed  to 
push  their  way,  on  the  left  of  the  2/2nd  half-way  to  the 
final  objective,  but  were  then  unable  to  withstand  the 
prompt  and  violent  counter-attack.  The  Germans  in 
the  later  stages  of  the  battle  depended  much  on  wearing 
off  the  edge  of  the  attack  by  light  advanced  troops,  and 
then  endeavoured  to  wipe  out  any  success  by  immediate 
and  heavy  counter-attacks.  Part  of  the  2/2  Londons 
had  been  able  to  hold  their  own  against  these  tactics. 
But  the  2/3rd  were  forced  back,  and  their  retirement 
involved  the  left  of  the  2/2nd.  The  2/3M  fell  back  to 
the  assembly  positions  where,  with  the  help  of  the  2/ist, 
they  were  able  to  beat  off  the  enemy.  The  2/3rd  lost  so 
heavily  on  this  occasion  that  when  the  battalion  were 
relieved  only  two  officers  and  17  men  returned.     Among 


7th  BATTALION'S  A1TACK,   OCTOBER  30TH    201 

the  casualties  were  Lieut. -Colonel  P.  W.  Beresford,  D.S.O., 

who  was  killed. 

Somewhat  similar  was  the  fate  of  the  2/4th,  who  made 

some  headway,  but  could  not  capture  their  objectives. 

D  Company,  under  Captain  C.  A.  Clarke,  seized  and  held 

advanced  positions,  and  the  battalion,  with  a  casualty 

list  of  11  officers  and  368  other  ranks,  had  to  be  content 

with  this  result.     The  Londons  all  suffered  very  terribly 

from  the  state  of  the  ground.     Many  men  were  drowned 

in  the  shell-holes. 

*  *  #  * 

Another  attack  was  delivered  on  October  30th,  and  the 
7th  Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  took  part  in  it,  suffered 
from  the  conditions  that  had  so  gravely  affected  the 
second  line  Londons.  They  too,  were  fighting  in  the 
trough  of  mud  and  water  while  other  battalions  advanced 
along  the  main  ridge,  where  it  was  at  least  possible  to 
move.  The  7th  Battalion  moved  up  to  their  position 
below  the  Lekkerboterbeek,  about  1,000  yards  west  of 
the  Paddebeek,  on  the  afternoon  of  the  28th,  and  on  the 
following  morning  a  practice  barrage  was  put  down  about 
200  yards  beyond  the  line  of  the  advanced  posts.  The 
German  counter-barrage  came  down  on  the  support  and 
reserve  companies,  but  it  was  fortunately  not  very  heavy. 
A  strong  position  on  the  left  of  the  front  gave  considerable 
trouble  and  was  reported  to  the  brigade.  It  was  then 
arranged  that  this  point  should  be  attacked  by  C  Company, 
under  Second  Lieutenant  Snelling. 

The  barrage  came  down  at  5.50  a.m.  on  the  30th  and 
the  advance  began.  The  men  soon  lost  touch  with 
headquarters,  and  this  proved  a  serious  handicap.  Five 
runners  were  sent  up,  but  only  one  returned.  Later,  by 
interrogating  the  wounded  it  was  found  that  the  right  of 
the  line  had  got  as  far  as  the  Paddebeek,  though  the  left 
was  still  held  up  by  the  strong  point  which  had  been 
marked  down  before  the  beginning  of  the  attack.  The 
resistance  of  this  single  focus  conditioned  the  battle  on  the 
63rd  Division's  front.    At  12.55  Pm-  Second  Lieutenant 


202     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

Wells,  who  arrived  at  headquarters  wounded,  reported 
that  heavy  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire  was  coming  from 
this  quarter.  Men  of  all  companies  were  lying  out  in 
front  of  it  and  there  had  been  heavy  loss  already  in  the 
fruitless  attempt  to  capture  it.  At  2.0  p.m.  it  was 
arranged  that  Second  Lieutenant  Hawkins,  with  two 
Stokes  guns,  should  assist  in  another  attack.  Part  of 
C  Company  were  to  make  a  feint  from  the  front  while 
Second  Lieutenant  Tricker  led  the  attack  from  the  flank. 
Every  effort  was  strained  to  make  this  assault  successful. 
It  was  arranged  to  deliver  the  attack  at  5  a.m.  on  the 
morning  of  October  31st,  and  about  four  hours  before 
Captain  Ogle  and  Second  Lieutenant  Hawkins  went  forward 
to  complete  the  arrangements.  But  at  7.45  a.m.  they 
returned  to  report  that  the  attack  had  again  failed.  Before 
the  attack  began,  a  shell  destroyed  one  of  the  guns  and  its 
double  crew  of  20  men.  The  other  fired  six  rounds  and  then 
ceased  to  function  owing  to  the  mud.  A  withering  machine- 
gun  fire  was  opened  from  the  strong  point,  and  Second 
Lieutenant  Tricker  was  compelled  to  abandon  the  attack. 
The  battalion  had  to  hand  over  their  positions  on  relief 
with  this  obdurate  focus  of  resistance  still  defiantly  active. 

But  in  the  meantime  the  men  had  pushed  forward  on 
the  right,  though  they  failed  to  cope  with  the  main  enemy 
of  the  area  and  the  time — the  deep,  adhesive  mud. 
Officers  and  men  tried  to  find  some  feasible  pathway 
through  it,  but  when  they  contrived  to  get  forward  the 
mud  and  water  had  robbed  them  of  the  advantage  of  the 
barrage.  A  small  "  pill-box  "  on  the  right  was  captured 
and  an  escaping  German  shot.  They  pressed  up  to  within 
about  100  yards  of  Sourd  Farm,  about  600  yards  east  of 
the  obdurate  strong  point  and  not  150  yards  south  of  it. 

At  10.30  p.m.  on  the  30th  it  was  arranged  to  relieve  the 
battalion  by  the  Royal  Marine  Light  Infantry,  but  this  was 
later  changed  to  the  Hawke  Battalion.  Arrangements 
were  completed  by  1.15  p.m.  on  the  31st,  and  the  Hawke 
Battalion  began  to  arrive  at  7.30  p.m.  The  7th  Royal 
Fusiliers   were   still  lying  in   their  advanced   positions. 


THE  BATTLE   OF   YPRES  ENDS  203 

Stretcher  bearers  had  been  active  since  noon  and  practically 
all  the  wounded  were  evacuated.  Corporal  Hancock,  who 
was  wounded  on  the  30th,  had  been  taken  prisoner  by  the 
Germans.  He  was  removed  to  a  dug-out  where  his  wounds 
were  dressed  and  he  was  fed.  Later  on  he  was  handed 
over  to  the  Fusiliers'  stretcher  bearers  with  the  condition 
that  he  gave  no  information  as  to  the  German  dispositions. 

It  was  10.45  Pm-  on  tne  3Ist  before  the  relief  was 
complete.  A  desultory  shelling  was  taking  place  at  the 
time,  and  the  battalion  passed  through  a  gassed  area  on 
their  way  to  Irish  Farm,  where  German  aeroplanes 
greeted  them.  Fortunately  there  were  no  additional 
casualties  ;  for  the  battalion  had  already  lost  heavily. 
Captain  Seward,  Second  Lieutenants  Snelling  and  T.  L. 
Williams,  and  65  other  ranks  were  killed,  Second  Lieu- 
tenants D.  Bishop,  M.  A.  Townshend,  C.  R.  Wells  and 
S.  W.  Dunthorn,  and  148  other  ranks  wounded,  and  19 
missing.  Both  of  the  attacking  divisions  were  congratu- 
lated by  the  XVIII.  Corps  commander,  who  stated  that 
"  Nothing  but  the  impossibility  of  crossing  the  mud  pre- 
vented their  usual  complete  success."  The  condition  of 
the  ground  could  not  be  exaggerated,  as  the  commanding 
officer  could  testify  from  personal  observation.  "  No 
troops  could  possibly  pass  over  it."  The  seal  is  set  on 
this  statement  by  the  fact  that  the  line,  on  this  sector  of 
the  Ypres  front,  lay  at  the  end  of  the  campaign  very  much 
as  the  7th  Battalion  left  it. 

But  the  long-drawn-out  battle  had  now  reached  its  last 
stage.  On  November  6th,  the  Canadians  carried  Pas- 
schendaele  together  with  the  high  ground  immediately  to 
the  north  and  north-west.  The  nth  Battalion  returned 
to  the  area  in  time  for  the  ringing  down  of  the  curtain. 
On  this  occasion  (November  10th)  they  took  over  positions 
south  of  Houthulst  Forest.  The  ground  was  water- 
logged. Beyond  the  duckboard  tracks,  drowning  was 
an  ordinary  risk,  and  it  was  hardly  decent  drowning. 
The  water  in  the  shell-holes  was  strongly  impregnated 
with  Yellow  Cross  gas.     There  was  a  considerable  amount 


204    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

of  gas  shell  expended  on  this  area,  and  in  their  first  tour 
of  the  trenches  the  nth  Battalion  had  21  gassed  to  13 
wounded.  The  latter  included  Lieut. -Colonel  Sulman. 
On  November  22nd,  the  adjutant,  Captain  O.  C.  White- 
man  was  killed  on  the  way  up  to  the  front.  He  was 
walking  up  with  Major  Ford,  the  second  in  command,  a 
few  minutes  before  the  battalion  arrived,  and  finding 
that  one  part  of  the  track  was  being  persistently  shelled, 
they  took  refuge  behind  a  "  pill-box,"  intending  to  wait 
for  the  next  shell  and  then  dash  across  the  dangerous  spot. 
Unfortunately  the  next  shell  fell  just  over  the  "  pill-box  " 
and  Whiteman  was  killed  at  once. 

An  incident  that  was  marked  with  better  luck  will  serve 
to  round  off  the  narrative  of  the  campaign.  "  In  the 
Houthulst  Forest  sector  on  the  night  of  November  24th- 
25th,  1917,  Private  T.  Wright  was  accompanying  his 
platoon  officer  who  was  visiting  his  front  line  posts,  when 
an  enemy  patrol  was  seen  approaching.  The  officer  and 
Private  Wright,  who  were  in  No  Man's  Land  at  the  time, 
allowed  the  patrol  to  get  close  to  the  post,  and  then  placed 
themselves  between  the  patrol  and  the  enemy's  lines  and 
called  upon  the  patrol  to  surrender. 

"  The  patrol,  consisting  of  an  officer  and  a  corporal, 
attempted  to  get  away,  but  were  prevented  from  doing 
so  by  Private  Wright,  who  shot  the  German  officer  in  the 
thigh  and  then  knocked  down  the  corporal,  who  offered 
considerable  resistance,  and,  moreover,  was  a  strong 
opponent,  standing  at  least  six  feet  one  in  height,  and 
strongly  built.  The  two  were  made  prisoners  and  valu- 
able documents  and  other  information  was  obtained  from 
them."  Such  is  the  official  account  of  the  incident  which 
gained  for  Private  Wright  the  Military  Medal. 

But  by  this  time  the  other  project  to  which  Sir  Douglas 
Haig  had  referred  in  his  despatch  as  the  chief  reason  for 
maintaining  the  pressure  on  the  Flanders'  front  had  seen 
fulfilment.  At  Cambrai  the  troops  had  gone  through  the 
German  line,  and,  attaining  complete  surprise,  had  secured 
a  remarkable  success. 


CHAPTER  XI 


THE   BATTLE   OF   CAMBRAI 


At  6.20  a.m.  on  November  20th  the  Battle  of  Cambrai 
began,  the  troops  moving  forward  without  any  previous 
artillery  bombardment,  on  a  front  of  six  miles  from  the 
east  of  Gonnelieu  to  the  Canal  du  Nord,  opposite  Hermies. 
Three  battalions  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  were  included  in 
the  attacking  divisions ;  and  it  may  be  said,  with  due 
reserve,  that  they  and  other  Fusilier  units  who  were 
involved  before  the  operations  died  down  in  December 
won  for  themselves  undying  honour. 

Noyelles. — The  second  battalion  began  to  move  up 
to  the  area  in  the  second  week  of  November.  On  the 
18th  they  lay  at  Peronne.  The  following  day  they 
reached  Equancourt,  some  8,000  yards  from  the  nearest 
point  of  the  British  front  line.  They  advanced  to  Dead 
Man's  Corner,  marching  through  Fins  and  Queen's  Cross, 
and  were  in  assembly  positions  on  the  right  rear  of  the 
16th  Middlesex  at  5.20  a.m.  on  the  20th.  An  hour  later 
they  began  to  move  up,  in  diamond  formation,  W  Company 
being  in  front,  X  and  Y  on  the  right  and  left  rear  respec- 
tively, and  Z  in  support.  They  marched  on  a  bearing  of 
40  degrees  until  the  original  front  line  was  reached,  when 
they  halted  in  front  of  Plough  Support.  At  10.20  a.m. 
they  resumed  the  advance  on  the  same  line  of  bearing 
until  they  passed  through  the  6th  Division,  who  had  cap- 
tured and  were  holding  the  Hindenburg  line.  Shortly 
afterwards  they  came  under  heavy  machine-gun  fire  and 
extended,  continuing  the  advance  in  two  waves,  with  the 
support  of  numerous  tanks.  This  was  the  period  of  the 
general  movement  towards  the  final  objective,  and  the 
resistance  which  had  been  inappreciable  in  the  earliest 


206     ROYAL    FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

stages  was  now,  in  places,  very  obstinate.  At  the  out- 
skirts of  Marcoing  several  Germans  ran  forward  and  gave 
themselves  up  ;  but  at  the  cross-roads  the  advance  was 
temporarily  held  up  by  machine-gun  fire  and  a  small 
amount  of  rifle  fire.  However  tanks  reduced  all  obstacles, 
and  the  battalion  went  forward  again.  Second  Lieu- 
tenant Burton  was  killed  in  the  approach  to  Marcoing, 
and  Captain  Learning  and  Second  Lieutenant  Piper  were 
wounded.  Two  platoons,  under  Captain  Griffiths,  went 
through  the  village,  and,  after  some  brisk  street  fighting, 
captured  about  ioo  prisoners  and  some  machine  guns. 

In  the  approach  to  Noyelles  the  enemy's  fire  was  once 
more  experienced,  the  resistance  on  the  Marcoing  road 
being  very  stubborn.  But  this  was  overcome  and  the 
battalion  reached  their  final  objective  at  3.15  p.m.  and 
dug  in.  A  patrol  of  W  Company  at  once  pushed  forward 
to  secure  the  bridge  over  the  canal,  north-east  of  Noyelles  ; 
but  the  intermediate  bridge  over  the  Scheldt,  on  the 
Noyelles-Cambrai  road,  had  been  blown  up,  and  the  canal 
bridge  could  not  be  reached.  The  wooden  bridge  over  the 
river  farther  south  had  been  blown  up  within  sight  of  a 
scouting  party.  Z  Company  went  forward  to  hold  the 
village  and  link  up  with  the  post  beyond  the  cemetery,  on 
the  north-western  outskirts  of  the  village.  X  dug  in 
between  the  River  Scheldt  and  the  canal,  making  two 
strong  points,  one  facing  eastward  and  the  other  towards 
the  north,  as  a  protection  to  the  right  flank,  which  was  in 
the  air.  Z  Company  promptly  put  the  village  in  a  state 
of  defence.  A  patrol  of  the  4th  Dragoons,  who  had  come 
up  a  little  after  4  p.m.,  were  posted  on  the  northern  out- 
skirts of  the  village.  The  blown-up  Scheldt  bridge  was 
seized  and  held  ;  and  also  the  wooden  one  still  intact  in 
the  grounds  of  the  Chateau,  on  the  east  of  the  village.  So 
the  battalion  lay  that  night.  A  German  patrol  was  beaten 
off  by  Lewis-gun  and  rifle  fire.  Not  three  miles  away  was 
Cambrai.  In  front  of  them  across  the  Scheldt  Canal  was 
the  enemy's  Marcoing  line.  Behind  them  lay  a  greater 
depth  of  country  than  had  ever  before  been  covered  in 


1HE  SECOND  BATTALION  AT  NOYELLES    207 

one  day's  advance  ;  and  the  success  had  been  achieved 
with  much  less  loss  than  had  almost  invariably  accom- 
panied the  fierce  battles  in  which  the  battalion  had  taken 
part. 

The  following  day,  November  21st,  appeared  like  a 
reversion  to  type.  By  some  oversight  the  outskirts  of  the 
village  had  been  abandoned  early  in  the  morning  by  the 
Dragoons  before  the  relief  troops  arrived.  As  a  conse- 
quence, when  the  enemy  counter-attacked  about  7.30  a.m. 
they  secured  an  immediate  success,  and  the  eastern  end 
of  the  village  was  overrun  up  to  the  church.  There  a 
machine  gun  was  established,  and  throughout  the  day  a 
bitter  struggle  took  place.  Second  Lieutenant  Peel  very 
gallantly  destroyed  two  German  machine  guns  in  this 
phase  of  the  fighting  and  Second  Lieutenant  R.  L.  Sparks 
was  killed.  The  18th  Hussars,  who  were  now  in  the 
village,  were  involved  in  this  fighting,  and  little  headway 
was  made  until  about  4  p.m.,  when  the  two  tanks  Ben 
Mychree  and  Buluwayo  II.  came  up.  These,  advancing 
with  moppers-up  of  the  2nd  Battalion  and  the  18th 
Hussars,  cleared  the  village,  which  was  handed  over  to 
C  Company  of  the  1st  Buffs,  who  relieved  the  Royal  Fusi- 
liers. This  phase  of  the  battle  had  not  been  bloodless, 
but  the  2nd  Battalion  had  the  satisfaction  of  handing  over 
intact  the  position  which  they  had  won  at  first.  They 
had  captured  400  prisoners,  two  light  and  ten  heavy 
machine  guns  and  three  granatenwerfer.  The  battalion 
billeted  in  Marcoing,  where  General  de  Lisle  called  to  con- 
gratulate them.  The  Mayor  visited  brigade  headquarters 
and  thanked  Captain  Hood  and  the  men  who  had  fought 
in  Noyelles. 

Meanwhile,  on  the  southern  flank  of  the  advance  the  8th 
and  9th  Battalions  had  also  advanced  successfully.  The 
8th  formed  up  north  and  the  9th  *  south  of  the  Cambrai 

*  The  9th  Battalion  had  been  commanded  since  July  3rd  by  a  very 
remarkable  officer.  Lieut. -Colonel  W.  V.  L.  van  Someren,  D.S.O., 
M.C.,  was  reading  for  the  Bar  when  war  broke  out,  and,  joining  the 
Inns  of  Court  O.T.C.  in  August,  19T4,  he  went  out  to  France  with  the 
9th  Royal  Fusiliers  as  the  junior  subaltern.      He  was  only  twenty -oae 


208    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

road  in  the  Gonnelieu  Trenches,  in  the  rear  of  sections  of 
the  Tank  Corps.  A  certain  amount  of  machine-gun  fire 
was  encountered  ;  but  both  battalions  captured  all  objec- 
tives. Barrier  Trench,  south  of  la  Vacquerie,  was  taken  ; 
Sonnet  Farm  was  cleared,  and  also  parts  of  the  Hinden- 
burg  front  and  support  line.  The  8th  captured  35  pri- 
soners and  two  machine  guns  for  a  total  casualty  list  of 
22,  including  Second  Lieutenant  Symonds  and  15  other 
ranks  killed.  The  9th  Battalion  lost  94  all  told,  including 
Captain  A.  Greathead  and  Lieutenant  G.  Hall,  M.C., 
Second  Lieutenant  E.  C.  Butterworth  died  of  wounds 
later.  At  10  p.m.  that  night  the  9th  moved  up  and 
relieved  the  7th  East  Surreys  in  the  front  line  of  the  defen- 
sive flank  between  Bleak  House  and  Bonavis  Farm,  and 
held  this  position  during  the  night.  The  8th  Battalion 
relieved  the  9th  on  November  22nd,  and  two  days  later 
carried  out  a  local  attack  on  Pelican  Trench  towards 
Banteux,  in  conjunction  with  the  35th  Brigade.  They 
attacked  at  8  a.m.  In  seventeen  minutes  they  had  secured 
their  objectives,  and  within  fifteen  minutes  were  heavily 
counter-attacked.  There  had  been  no  time  to  consolidate 
and  400  yards  of  Pelican  Trench  between  B  and  D  Com- 
panies were  lost.  Bombing  blocks  were  established  in 
the  rear  of  the  section  of  trench  lost  and  the  positions  were 
handed  over  on  the  following  day  to  the  7th  Royal  Sussex. 
In  this  brisk  little  engagement  the  battalion  lost  58,  in- 
cluding Second  Lieutenant  Reed  killed,  and  they  took  28 
prisoners. 

Tadpole  Copse.— The  Londons  had  by  this  time 
entered  the  battle.  On  November  20th  they  had  co- 
operated with  the  main  assault  by  a  Chinese  attack,  but 
now  they  were  to  take  their  share  in  the  actual  fighting. 
The  early  successes  of  the  advance  had  been  at  once  too 
little  and  too  great.     If  they  had  carried  the  troops  no 

years  of  age  when  he  took  over  the  command  of  the  battalion, 
and  must  have  been  one  of  the  youngest,  if  not  actually  the  youngest, 
of  commanding  officers.  He  retained  command  of  the  unit  until  it  was 
disbanded  in  June,  1919,  and  was  in  charge  of  the  36th  Brigade  for  the 
two  weeks'preceding  the  Armistice. 


ACTION  AT  BULLECOURT,  NOVEMBER  2oth    209 

further  than  Flesquieres  ridge,  a  position  would  have  been 
gained  which  was  possible  to  hold  without  undue  risk. 
But  the  line  had  been  flung  out  to  the  north  well  beyond 
the  ridge,  and  this  ground  could  not  be  held  unless  the 
Bourlon  ridge  which  commanded  it  was  also  in  our  posses- 
sion, except  at  excessive  cost.  On  the  west  of  the  ridge 
the  56th  Division  was  involved.  Tadpole  Copse,  lying 
about  1,000  yards  west  of  Mceuvres,  formed  "  a  command- 
ing tactical  point  in  the  Hindenburg  line  .  .  .  the  posses- 
sion of  which  would  be  of  value  in  connection  with  the 
left  flank  of  the  Bourlon  position."  *  It  was  stormed  on 
the  evening  of  the  22nd  by  the  Queen's  Westminsters.  The 
trenches  in  advance  of  the  copse  were  retaken  by  the 
enemy  on  the  24th  ;  and  at  1  p.m.  on  the  25th  bombers 
of  the  4th  Londons,  with  the  Rangers,  attacked  and  re- 
captured the  trenches.  A  patrol  of  D  Company  under 
Captain  A.  M.  Duthie  pushed  forward  and  captured  three 
machine  guns.  Late  at  night  the  Germans  attempted  to 
rush  one  of  the  battalion's  bombing  blocks,  but  they  were 
beaten  off.  The  2nd  Londons  on  the  left  of  the  position 
spent  several  days  beating  off  the  intermittent  German 
attacks.  Constant  vigilance  was  necessary  and,  it  may  be 
added,  was  forthcoming.  On  the  Lagnicourt  sector  a 
patrol  of  the  1st  Londons  distinguished  themselves  on  the 
night  of  the  22nd.  Second  Lieutenant  Long  and  three 
men  of  A  Company  crossed  to  the  enemy  wire,  passed 
through  and  lay  in  a  German  outpost  trench  until  a  hostile 
patrol,  sent  out  to  examine  their  own  wire,  passed  them. 
The  Londons  allowed  them  to  pass  and  then  surrounded 
and  captured  the  two  Germans. 

Bullecourt. — In  the  subsidiary  attack  about  Bulle- 
court  the  4th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  cast  for  the  role  of  maid- 
of-all-work.  They  had  to  be  prepared  to  support  the 
Connaught  Rangers  (16th  Division)  on  their  left ;  a  com- 
pany was  lent  to  the  1st  Northumberland  Fusiliers,  and 
another  to  the  12th  West  Yorks.  They  held  the  remainder 
of  the  9th  Brigade  front  on  the  flanks  of  the  battle  front, 

*  Despatch. 
f.  P 


210    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT  WAR 

holding  300  yards  of  the  16th  Division  sector.  During 
the  night  work  was  begun  on  a  communication  trench  to- 
wards the  left  of  the  objective,  and  a  post  was  dug  in 
advance  of  the  line  and  made  defensible  before  zero.  Four 
platoons  advanced  at  a  minute  after  zero  (6.20  a.m.)  and 
began  their  work  of  establishing  posts  between  the  old 
front  line  and  the  objective.  A  listening  post  was  encoun- 
tered by  the  right  company,  two  of  the  enemy  being  made 
prisoners  and  the  rest  killed.  With  their  aid,  in  a  con- 
fused battle,  the  assaulting  troops  completed  the  work  of 
the  Spring  Campaign  by  capturing  the  remainder  of  the 
Hindenburg  support  trench  on  this  sector.  Another 
spirited  advance  was  made  on  November  25th,  in  which 
the  4th  Battalion  passed  through  the  enemy  wire  without 
opposition,  and  took  and  consolidated  the  German  first  and 
second  lines  north-west  of  Bullecourt.  Finding  a  German 
post  unoccupied  due  north  of  the  town,  they  seized  it  and 
worked  along  Bulldog  Trench  until  held  up  by  a  block. 
Consolidation  was  at  once  carried  out,  and  the  positions 
were  firmly  held. 

The  Counter-attack. — The  2nd  Division  had  now 
come  up  to  consolidate  the  new  positions,  and  the  four 
battalions  of  Royal  Fusiliers  were  disposed  about  Bourlon 
Wood.  But  already  it  was  evident  that  the  Germans  did 
not  intend  to  admit  the  finality  of  the  British  success.  The 
increased  registration  of  hostile  artillery,  the  movements 
of  troops  and  transport  behind  the  German  lines,  pointed 
to  the  imminence  of  a  counter-attack.  The  ground 
gained  in  the  Battle  of  Cambrai  made  a  distinct  salient  in 
the  German  lines,  and  the  German  activity  embraced  not 
only  the  front  affected  by  the  advance,  but  extended  as  far 
as  Vendhuile.  When  the  German  advance  began  it  was 
directed  upon  converging  lines  against  the  northern  and 
southern  faces  of  the  salient. 

On  the  latter  sector  the  8th  and  9th  Battalions  felt  the  full 
shock  of  the  German  assault.  The  8th,  on  the  left,  lay  east 
of  La  Vacquerie,  and  the  9th,  on  the  right,  lay  in  trenches 
south  of  the  Gouzeaucourt-Cambrai  road.     At  6.45  a.m. 


THE  COUNTER-ATTACK,  NOVEMBER  30TH    211 

on  November  30th  an  intense  artillery  bombardment  began, 
and  at  7.40  infantry  attacks  developed.  Almost  imme- 
diately the  resistance  of  the  35th  Brigade  and  part  of  the 
55th  Division  on  the  right  of  the  9th  Battalion  was  over- 
come, and  C  Company  was  forced  to  withdraw,  taking  up 
a  position  astride  the  Cambrai  road.  The  Germans 
advanced  down  the  Hindenburg  front  line  after  the  troops 
of  the  35th  Brigade  to  the  brigade  headquarters.  B  Com- 
pany at  once  delivered  a  counter-attack  over  the  open, 
forced  back  the  Germans  200  yards,  when  bombing  blocks 
were  made  in  all  the  trenches  and  the  position  was  held 
firmly.  D  Company,  on  the  left,  were  surrounded,  and 
most  of  them  became  casualties.  Only  1  officer  and 
13  other  ranks  succeeded  in  fighting  their  way  back 
to  the  main  body  of  the  battalion.  Contact  was  made  on 
this  flank  with  the  8th  Battalion,  who  had  taken  up  the 
trench  near  the  road  running  vid  Good  Old  Man  Farm  to 
Ribecourt  ;  but  the  right  flank  was  still  in  the  air  until 
10  a.m.,  when  the  7th  Royal  Sussex  manned  the  reserve 
line  immediately  in  the  rear  of  the  battalion,  and  this 
position  was  connected  with  that  of  the  9th  Battalion. 
Throughout  the  day  bombing  encounters  continued. 
Neither  water  nor  rations  could  be  obtained.  German 
aeroplanes  flying  only  about  50  feet  above  them  harassed 
them  continually  with  machine-gun  fire,  despite  the 
attempts  of  Lewis  guns  and  rifles  to  drive  them  off.  Yet, 
with  the  help  of  about  half  a  company  of  the  7th  Norfolks, 
they  held  to  their  positions. 

The  8th  Battalion,  on  the  left,  had  gone  through  a 
similar  ordeal.  The  Germans,  who  had  broken  through 
on  the  south,  appeared  in  great  strength  on  the  right  rear 
of  the  front  line  companies,  who,  in  a  few  minutes,  were 
completely  cut  off.  Some  12  men  only  fought  their  way 
back  to  the  reserve  line.  D  Company  went  up  to  support 
and  were  overwhelmed  and  fell  back,  fighting,  to  the 
reserve  line  where  the  Battalion  headquarters  were  estab- 
lished. The  Germans  were  only  50  yards  from  the  reserve 
line  when  the  Commanding  Officer,  Lieut-Colonel  N.  B. 

p  2 


212     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Elliott-Cooper,  D.S.O.,  M.C.,  collected  all  available  men 
of  battalion  headquarters  and  C  and  D  Companies,  about 
120  in  all,  and  led  them  in  a  counter-attack.  The  position 
was  critical,  but  Colonel  Elliott-Cooper's  forlorn  hope 
achieved  an  immediate  success.  The  small  body  went 
forward  cheering ;  the  Germans  wavered  and  were  then 
driven  back  over  the  Cambrai  road.  But  there  heavy 
machine-gun  fire  was  encountered.  Elliott-Cooper  him- 
self fell.  All  the  officers  became  casualties  ;  and,  seeing 
the  impossibility  of  maintaining  and  consolidating  the 
position,  he  ordered  the  withdrawal.  He  was  only  29 
years  of  age,  and  by  this  order  he  deliberately  accepted 
the  bitter  fate  of  falling  into  the  hands  of  the  Germans. 
His  advance  had  been  daring  and  resolute.  His  order  for 
the  withdrawal  was  marked  by  high  courage  and  selfless- 
ness. He  deserved,  as  he  received,  the  Victoria  Cross  ; 
but,  unfortunately,  he  died  a  prisoner  in  Germany. 

The  survivors  fell  back  as  they  were  ordered  and  with- 
drew to  the  reserve  line.  The  German  advance  was 
checked  in  this  quarter,  and,  with  the  37th  Brigade  on  the 
left  and  the  9th  Battalion  on  the  right,  the  new  line  was 
established.  All  enemy  attacks  were  beaten  off.  The  8th 
lost  10  officers  and  247  men.  The  9th  had  lost  13  officers, 
including  Lieutenant  H.  Reeve,  Second  Lieutenants 
Levi,  Wason  and  Disney,  killed,  and  208  other  ranks. 

There  was  no  further  attack  that  night.  But  at  7  a.m. 
on  the  morning  of  December  1st  the  Germans  attempted 
to  cross  the  Cambrai  road  on  the  front  of  the  9th  Battalion, 
towards  La  Vacquerie.  They  were  repulsed  by  rifle  and 
machine-gun  fire  ;  and  the  attack  was  repeated  seven  times 
with  the  same  result.  At  12.30  p.m.  the  enemy  opened  a 
heavy  bombardment  and  then  began  bombing  attacks. 
These  were  beaten  off  until  about  1  p.m.,  when  the  supply 
of  bombs  had  completely  given  out.  The  battalion  were 
forced  to  withdraw  150  yards  to  a  point  just  north  of  the 
Cambrai  road,  where  they  held  the  enemy.  These  two 
battalions  had  fought  an  engagement  in  conditions  that 
were  not  paralleled  until  the  German  offensive  of  March, 


Lieut.-Colonel  N.  B.  Elliott-Cooper,  V.C.,  D.S.O.,  M  C,  who  won 

THE    V.C.    WHILE     COMMANDING     THE     8TH      ROYAL     FUSILIEKS     AT     THE 

Battle  of  Cambsai. 


EXPLOIT   OF   CAPTAIN   GEE  213 

1918,  and,  never  ceasing  to  be  an  ordered  fighting  force, 
had  given  ground  only  when  no  troops  could  possibly  have 
held  it.  At  the  end  they  handed  over  an  organised 
position  to  the  relieving  troops.  The  9th  Battalion  were 
the  only  troops  to  retain  their  positions  south  of  the 
Cambrai-Gouzeaucourt  road  for  these  two  days,  during 
which  no  rations  reached  them,  and  the  supply  of  bombs 
completely  failed. 

Les  Rues  Vertes. — The  2nd  Battalion  had  come  back 
into  support  on  November  28th  as  counter-attack  bat- 
talion ;  and  when  the  German  assault  began  Y  and  Z 
Companies  were  lying  about  the  sugar  factory  at  Masnieres, 
W  was  in  the  quarry  and  X  off  the  Cambrai  road.  Mas- 
nieres was  heavily  shelled  from  2  to  5  a.m.,  and  at  6.15 
the  battalion  stood  to  arms.  At  7  a.m.  the  German 
attack  from  Crevecoeur  made  such  rapid  progress  that  the 
battery  positions  were  taken  in  reverse,  and  the  southern 
flank  of  Masnieres  was  uncovered.  X  and  Z  Companies 
were  quickly  brought  across  the  canal  by  the  lock  bridge 
near  the  sugar  factory  to  form  a  defensive  flank  as  far  as 
the  old  Brigade  rear  headquarters  in  Les  Rues  Vertes,  while 
two  platoons  of  X  Company  were  sent  to  help  in  the  street 
fighting.  For  the  Germans  had  not  only  penetrated  the 
suburb,  but  had  even  captured  the  ammunition  dump. 
The  troops  in  point  of  fact  were  called  upon  to  defend  a 
position  which  virtually  had  already  been  lost. 

Into  this  picture  it  is  difficult  to  fit  the  achievement 
of  Captain  Gee,  who  won  the  Victoria  Cross  for  multiplied 
acts  of  daring  that  seem,  on  calm  reflection,  to  outshine 
the  inventions  of  writers  of  fiction.  At  8.50  a.m.  the 
position  in  Les  Rues  Vertes  seemed  to  be  lost  ;  and  the 
amazing  thing  is  that  it  was  not  abandoned.  No  one 
exactly  knew  where  the  Germans  were,  but  they  appeared 
to  be  everywhere  and  certainly  in  the  most  inconvenient 
places.  Captain  Gee,  who  was  then  at  brigade  head- 
quarters, was  ordered  by  telephone  to  form  a  defensive 
flank  with  servants  and  headquarters  details.  He  at  once 
sent  Captain  Loseby  with  6  men  to  get  into  touch  with 


214     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

the  right  flank.  Taking  4  signallers  and  2  orderlies  with 
him,  he  then  set  out  to  get  a  grip  of  the  situation.  But  at 
the  first  corner  firing  was  heard.  A  little  further  on  the 
Germans  could  be  seen.  With  four  of  the  men  he  opened 
fire,  while  the  other  two  seized  whatever  came  first — 
tables,  chairs,  etc. — to  form  a  barricade.  The  enemy  were 
held  off  for  about  five  minutes,  and  then  a  Lewis  gun  came 
up,  and  there  was  time  to  breathe.  The  second  house 
beyond  the  barricade  was  the  Brigade  ammunition  dump, 
full  of  small  arm  ammunition,  bombs,  etc.,  and  Captain  Gee 
determined  to  get  to  it.  He  knocked  a  hole  through  the 
wall  of  a  house  on  his  own  side  of  the  barricade  and  crawled 
through  to  the  first  dump,  only  to  find  both  dump  men 
dead  and  the  quartermaster-sergeant  missing.  He  then 
climbed  a  wall  to  the  bomb  store  and  was  immediately 
seized  by  two  German  sentries. 

He  had  a  bayonet  stick  with  him  and  a  revolver,  but  he 
could  not  reach  the  latter,  and  in  the  struggle  he  killed 
one  of  the  sentries  with  the  stick  while  an  orderly  shot  the 
other.  He  got  back  to  the  road  again  with  a  better 
realisation  of  the  desperate  nature  of  the  crisis.  Some 
30  or  40  men  had  now  arrived.  Half  of  them  were  sent 
to  Captain  Loseby,  others  were  set  to  the  task  of  building 
another  barricade  ;  and,  with  the  six  remaining,  he  recap- 
tured the  bomb  store  and  cleared  three  houses.  Two 
companies  of  Guernsey  Light  Infantry  now  arrived  from 
brigade  headquarters.  These  were  sent  to  the  uncovered 
flank,  posts  were  established  on  the  three  bridges  across 
the  canal,  and  a  strong  company  were  sent  to  the  out- 
skirts of  the  village  with  orders  to  build  a  barricade  and 
link  up  on  the  left. 

After  this  a  bombing  party  were  organised  to  set  about 
clearing  the  houses  on  the  Marcoing  road.  At  this  point 
the  Germans'  nerves  appeared  to  wear  thin,  and  they  ran 
from  house  to  house  as  the  bombers  got  to  work.  Captain 
Gee,  seeing  that  this  part  of  his  task  appeared  to  be 
approaching  completion,  began  to  attend  to  the  supply  of 
ammunition  and  bombs  to  the  troops  across  the  canal  and 


Captain  R.  Gee,  V.C.,  M.P.,  who  won  the  V.C.  at  the  Battle 

of  Cambrai. 


SECOND  BATTALION'S   FINE  DEFENCE    215 

at  the  bridges.  He  then  worked  up  to  the  chateau  and 
through  a  hole  in  the  wall  into  the  brewery  yard.  The 
Germans  had  already  left  ;  and  it  was  evident  that  when 
the  houses  on  the  other  side  of  the  Marcoing  road  were 
cleared,  the  village  would  again  be  in  our  possession. 
This  task  was  handed  on  to  a  small  party,  and  Captain  Gee 
went  up  to  the  roof  of  the  chateau  to  take  stock  of  the 
position.  The  Germans  were  seen  to  be  digging  in  about 
100  yards  clear  of  the  village.  He  at  once  got  a  supply  of 
bombs,  and  with  the  help  of  another  orderly  he  put  the 
machine-gun  team  out  of  action  and  captured  the  gun. 
Another  machine  gun  was  in  the  house  near  the  Crucifix. 
A  Stokes  gun  was  ordered  up,  and  Captain  Gee  now  saw 
that  there  were  posts  all  round  the  suburbs. 

At  the  end  of  the  village  the  men  were  still  being  troubled 
by  a  machine  gun,  and  there  were  also  numerous  snipers 
at  large.  For  a  moment  he  had  to  take  refuge  in  a  shell- 
hole  ;  but  it  was  necessary  to  order  up  a  Stokes  gun  before 
dark  to  deal  with  the  machine  gun,  which  was  situated  in  a 
corner  house.  So  he  made  a  dash  for  the  barricade, 
reaching  it  across  the  open  in  safety,  but  was  caught  in  the 
knee  by  a  sniper  as  he  jumped  the  barricade.  He  had  had 
four  orderlies  shot  at  his  side,  had  been  a  prisoner  for  a 
few  minutes  and  had  come  through  almost  unprecedented 
risks.  He  wished  now  to  carry  on,  but  was  ordered  back 
to  have  his  wound  dressed. 

Meanwhile  part  of  the  open  flank  had  been  held  stead- 
fastly by  the  2nd  Battalion.  At  2  p.m.  Captain  Lathom 
Browne,  with  two  platoons  of  W  Company  and  the  re- 
maining platoon  of  X,  took  over  the  defences  of  Les  Rues 
Vertes.  The  remaining  platoon  of  W  Company,  under 
Second  Lieutenant  Brain,  was  sent  to  the  sugar  factory  to 
hold  the  lock  bridge.  To  these  positions  the  troops  held 
firmly.  At  6  p.m.  warning  orders  were  issued  in  case  the 
Brigade  had  to  evacuate  the  area  ;  but,  later  in  the 
evening,  congratulations  and  orders  to  hold  on  to  the  end 
were  received  from  army  headquarters. 

At  six  o'clock  the  next  morning  a  heavy  hostile  barrage 


2i6     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

was  put  down  and  a  counter-attack  followed.  The  enemy 
were  beaten  off  by  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire.  At  4  p.m. 
the  enemy  attacked  in  great  force  once  more.  On  this 
occasion  the  advanced  posts  were  driven  in  and  the 
Germans  entered  the  village.  They  were  checked  ;  but 
it  was  clear  that  the  thin  line  of  weary  men  could  not 
hold  out  indefinitely  in  so  precarious  a  position.  At 
7.30  p.m.  the  order  to  evacuate  Masnieres  and  Les  Rues 
Vertes  arrived  ;  and  at  11.15  the  withdrawal  began. 
In  exactly  an  hour  from  the  beginning  of  the  retire- 
ment the  last  post  at  the  sugar  factory  moved  away. 
In  small  parties  the  battalion  moved  off  westward,  crossed 
the  canal  near  Marcoing,  and  thence  marched  south  of  the 
Villers  Plouich  road  to  the  Hindenburg  support  line, 
about  500  yards  east  of  the  Bois  Couillet.  At  this  point 
the  battalion  found  their  cookers  and  blankets.  They 
were  very  weary  ;  but  they  had  steadfastly  held  to  their 
positions  in  a  time  when  the  front  line  was  like  a  leaky 
dam  ;  and  their  defence  must  be  accounted  one  of  the 
great  episodes  in  the  battle. 

Bourlon. — But  it  was  in  the  Bourlon  area  that  the 
main  attack  was  delivered  some  two  hours  after  the 
assault  was  made  in  the  south.  The  density  of  the  attack 
was  extraordinary.  Against  the  three  divisions  in  line, 
the  56th,  2nd  and  47th,  four  German  divisions  were 
directed  with  three  more  in  support.  From  high  ground 
within  the  salient,  officers  could  see  through  their  glasses 
the  enemy  advance,  and  the  area  seemed  to  be  packed 
with  men.  The  2nd  Division  had  taken  over  the  section 
of  the  line  between  Bourlon  Wood  and  Mceuvres.  In  the 
front  line,  lying  between  the  1st  Royal  Berks  on  the  right 
and  the  1st  King's  Royal  Rifle  Corps  on  the  left,  were  the 
17th  Royal  Fusiliers.  At  the  opening  of  the  battle  they 
were  holding  a  long  trench  (the  "  Rat's  Tail  "),  which  ran, 
almost  at  right  angles  from  the  main  British  line,  1,000 
yards  to  a  point  overlooking  the  enemy's  position.  B 
Company,  under  Captain  Walter  Napoleon  Stone,  were 
occupying  the  sector  nearest  the  German  front  line  when 


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CAPTAIN   STONE'S   HEROISM  217 

the  attack  began  ;  and  he  was  ordered  to  withdraw  his 
company  to  the  main  line,  leaving  a  rearguard  to  cover 
the  retirement,  as  the  position  was  judged  to  be  too 
exposed.  Captain  Stone  sent  back  three  platoons,  but, 
with  Lieutenant  Benzecry,  remained  behind  with  the 
rearguard.  The  action  of  this  rearguard,  under  their 
inspiring  leader,  stands  out  remarkable  in  a  day  of  extra- 
ordinary exploits.  With  bayonet,  bullet  and  bomb,  they 
held  off  the  whole  of  the  German  attack  until  the  main 
position  of  the  battalion  was  fully  organised,  and  they 
died  to  a  man  with  their  faces  to  the  enemy. 

Captain  Stone's  behaviour  will  never  be  forgotten  while 
heroic  deeds  continue  to  inspire.  The  attack  had  deve- 
loped against  him  and  his  small  rearguard  with  un- 
expected speed,  owing  to  the  enemy  being  concealed  in 
some  dead  ground.  He  stood  on  the  parapet  with  the 
telephone,  under  a  tremendous  bombardment  and  hail  of 
bullets,  closely  observing  the  enemy,  and  sending  back 
valuable  information.  When  last  seen,  the  enemy  had 
closed  in  upon  the  little  band.  Stone  was  seen  fighting 
to  the  last,  until  he  was  shot  through  the  head.  The 
extraordinary  coolness  of  this  officer,  and  the  accuracy  of 
his  information,  enabled  dispositions  to  be  made  just  in 
time  to  save  the  line  from  disaster.  In  the  official  account 
of  this  incident,  published  at  the  beginning  of  the  year 
1918,  Captain  Stone's  action  is  described  "as  a  devoted 
example  of  the  greatest  of  all  sacrifices."  He  was  granted 
the  Victoria  Cross.  This  was  the  third  to  be  won  by  the 
Royal  Fusiliers  on  the  same  day. 

At  1  p.m.  the  17th  Battalion  reorganised  their  line.  The 
two  advanced  companies  in  the  "  Rat's  Tail  "  had  been 
withdrawn  to  the  main  line  ;  but  C  still  retained  two 
blocks  beyond  it,  and  these  were  held  throughout  the  day. 
Their  line  was  intact.  Their  positions  were  closely  linked 
up  with  the  units  on  the  right  and  left  ;  and  the  men 
"  were  really  enjoying  the  experience  of  killing  Germans 
in  large  numbers  at  point-blank  range."  * 

*  Official  account. 


218     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Early  in  the  afternoon  a  very  heavy  attack  was  deli- 
vered on  a  front  a  mile  west  of  Bourlon  Wood.  This  was 
beaten  off  except  on  the  extreme  right  of  the  2nd  Division, 
where  the  ist  Royal  Berks  lay  on  the  right  of  the  17th 
Royal  Fusiliers.  Three  posts  were  there  lost,  and  a  gap 
was  formed  at  the  same  time  between  two  battalions  of 
the  47th  Division.  A  company  of  the  23rd  Royal 
Fusiliers  were  sent  up,  and,  by  a  sharp  counter-attack, 
re-established  the  Royal  Berks'  line.  Another  company 
assisted  the  17th  Battalion  later  in  the  day  ;  and  at  10  p.m. 
the  battalion  were  relieved  by  the  24th  Royal  Fusi- 
liers. The  strength  of  the  17th  Battalion  on  leaving  the 
line  was  20  officers  and  351  other  ranks. 

The  22nd  Battalion  relieved  the  13th  Essex  with  two 
companies  and  the  Highland  Light  Infantry  with  one 
company  on  the  night  of  December  ist.  The  13th  Essex, 
on  the  left  of  the  2nd  Division,  had  been  heavily  engaged 
on  November  30th,  but  the  22nd  Battalion's  tour  of  the 
trenches  was  comparatively  uneventful,  except  for  a 
bombing  attack  on  December  3rd,  which  was  beaten  off 
after  half  an  hour's  brisk  fighting  ;  and  on  the  5th  the 
battalion  were  withdrawn  to  support  in  the  old  British 
line  east  of  Hermies. 

On  the  night  of  December  4th  the  24th  Battalion 
evacuated  their  positions  according  to  orders  ;  and  on  the 
following  day,  when  the  Germans  began  to  make  their 
way  cautiously  forward,  they  did  considerable  execution 
on  them.  On  December  6th,  at  6.15  a.m.,  the  enemy 
attacked  one  of  the  battalion's  bombing  posts  about  100 
yards  south  of  the  Bapaume-Cambrai  road.  For  about 
half  an  hour  the  Lewis  gunners  and  bombers  fought  at 
close  quarters,  causing  the  Germans  considerable  damage. 
The  defence  rallied  round  the  cool  action  of  Sergeants  A.  F. 
Wood,  E.  Tarleton  and  Lance-Corporal  G.  Day,  and  the 
enemy  were  driven  off.  These  three  men  were  awarded 
the  Military  Medal  for  their  skill  and  courage.  A  little 
later  the  enemy  penetrated  through  a  gap  in  the  lines  into 
the  village  of  Graincourt.     Sergeant  D.  McCabe  was  sent 


WITHDRAWAL  AT  CAMBRAI  219 

out,  with  a  patrol  of  two  men,  down  the  sunken  road  on 
the  east  of  the  village.  By  skilful  and  daring  handling 
of  his  patrol,  McCabe  located  the  position  of  the  enemy 
and  inflicted  heavy  casualties  upon  them.  McCabe  also 
was  awarded  the  Military  Medal. 

Another  evacuation,  the  final  one,  was  carried  out  on 
the    night    of    the    6th,    and    by    the    early    hours    of 
December  7th  the  troops  had  successfully  reached  the  new 
positions.     The  17th  Battalion  had  taken  up  positions  in 
front  of  Lock  7,  on  the  canal,  on  December  4th.     At  that 
time  the  guns  were  passing  through  them  and  dug-outs 
were  being  destroyed  preparatory  to  the  first  stage  of  the 
withdrawal.     Two  days  later  the  rearguards  were  with- 
drawn in  front  of  the  advancing  Germans.     At  1  a.m.  on 
December  7th  the  battalion  were  ordered  to  establish 
three  posts  roughly  500  yards  in  front  of  the  line,  to  be 
held  at  all  costs.     But  it  was  impossible  to  site  them  in  the 
darkness,  and  they  were  not  established  until  dawn.     On 
the  following  day  the  battalion  were  in  touch  with  advance 
parties  of  the  enemy.     Corporals  Whitson  and  Lowry 
made  a  gallant  attempt  to  capture  seven  Germans,  but 
they  were  unable  to  sprint  fast  enough  !     Intermittent 
bombing  engagements  took  place  during  the  whole  of  the 
day,  and  the  Germans  began  to  register  on  the  front  line. 
Shelling  continued  during  the  night,  and  the  following  day 
they  were  repeatedly  attacked.     They  were  holding  at 
this  time  2,000  yards  of  the  front  line  ;    and  when  they 
were  relieved  on  the  night  of  the  9th  they  were  thoroughly 
exhausted.     But  by  this  time  the  fighting  had  died  down. 
The  positions  remained  substantially  the  same  for  some 
months  until  the  German  offensive  began. 


CHAPTER  XII 


INTERLUDE 


The  period  which  filled  the  interval  between  the  Battle 
of  Cambrai  and  the  German  attack  on  March  21st,  1918, 
marked  a  change  in  the  general  outlook  which  had  its 
influence  on  the  character  of  the  training  and  daily 
routine.  The  High  Command  issued  in  December  orders 
"  having  for  their  object  immediate  preparation  to  meet  a 
strong  and  sustained  hostile  offensive.  In  other  words  a 
defensive  policy  was  adopted.  .  .  .  "* 

In  any  case  the  winter  imposed  a  truce  on  the  armies, 
though  it  was  impossible,  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  period, 
to  rule  out  the  possibility  of  further  operations  on  the 
Italian  front,  and  several  British  divisions  were  sent 
thither.  Included  in  this  force  were  the  41st  Division 
with  their  two  Fusilier  battalions. 

But  the  lines  were  never  quite  at  rest.  Raids  and 
counter-raids  took  place  intermittently  even  on  the  quiet 
sectors.  One  incident  that  deserves  mention  is  the  German 
raid  on  the  extreme  left  of  the  17th  Battalion's  front. 
They  were  stationed  on  July  24th,  1917,  in  the  canal  sector, 
the  training  ground  of  numerous  units,  when  a  German 
patrol  of  about  nine  men  suddenly  fell  upon  three  men  hold- 
ing a  post  in  East  Surrey  Crater.  A  desperate  struggle  took 
place.  One  of  the  men  contrived  to  make  his  escape  and 
warned  the  front  line.  The  other  two  were  wounded, 
and  the  Germans  dragged  them  back  towards  their  front 
line.  But  the  wounded  men,  finding  the  prospect  uncon- 
genial, kept  their  wits  about  them,  and  one  of  them 
suddenly  broke  away,  and  although  wounded  in  five  or 
six  places,  braved  our  own  Lewis  guns,  which  had  opened 

*  Despatch. 


WINTER  RAIDS,   1917— 18  221 

fire,  and  regained  our  lines.  One  German  was  left  dead 
in  the  crater,  and  in  this  way  both  sides  secured  identifi- 
cations at  equal  cost. 

Another  raid  upon  the  same  battalion,  but  in  the 
Cambrai  sector,  had  also  a  slightly  paradoxical  result. 
On  December  21st  some  30  Germans  suddenly  raided  the 
battalion  front  at  10  o'clock  in  the  morning.  They  were 
beaten  off  with  ease  by  D  Company,  as  the  enemy 
obligingly  forgot  to  pull  the  strings  of  their  bombs  before 
throwing  them.  A  prisoner  was  taken  and  an  interesting 
trophy  secured.  This  was  one  of  the  new  automatic 
pistols,  which  held  32  rounds  in  its  magazine.  The 
17th  determined  to  return  the  compliment,  and  on  the 
following  day  a  fighting  patrol  went  out.  But  suddenly 
the  fog  lifted,  and  modesty  suggested  a  prompt  retirement. 

A  more  important  and  useful  raid  took  place  almost  on 
the  eve  of  the  German  offensive.  Second  Lieutenant  Fish 
and  17  other  ranks  entered  the  German  lines  on  the  night 
of  March  18th,  1918.  The  previous  day  much  movement 
had  been  observed  in  the  opposite  lines,  and  it  was  desirable 
to  know  the  state  of  the  trench  garrisons  and  to  secure 
identifications.  Entering  the  German  trenches  opposite 
Anchor  Sap,  the  small  patrol  killed  8  or  10  Germans, 
brought  back  three  shoulder  straps,  secured  useful 
information  as  to  the  defence  system  and  returned  with 
only  one  casualty.  For  this  excellent  little  action  the 
battalion  received  the  congratulations  of  all  the  brigades 
and  of  the  2nd  Division. 

Both  the  13th  and  the  10th  Battalions  figured  in  a  more 
serious  operation  which  took  place  on  March  8th,  1918. 
On  this  day  the  13th  Battalion  were  in  the  front  line 
astride  the  Menin  road,  with  the  13th  King's  Royal  Rifle 
Corps  on  their  left,  when  they  were  warned  by  the  brigade 
that  the  enemy  intended  to  attack  during  the  night  to 
capture  the  high  ground  north-west  of  Gheluvelt,  which 
had  been  won  by  a  great  outpouring  of  blood  in  the  summer 
and  autumn  offensive  of  1917.  The  companies  were 
warned,  and  a  preparatory  bombardment  was  fired  at 


222      ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE   GREAT  WAR 

dawn,  but  without  provoking  a  reply.  At  6.30  a.m.  the 
Germans  opened  a  bombardment,  which  grew  fiercer  after 
9.30  a.m.  and  continued  with  a  short  break  at  1  o'clock 
until  about  5  p.m.  North  of  the  Menin  road  the  shelling 
was  very  severe,  and  the  S.O.S.  was  sent  up  by  the  bat- 
talion on  the  left.  The  counter-barrage  came  down  on 
the  whole  sector  within  two  minutes.  On  the  front  of 
the  13th  Battalion  no  attack  developed  ;  but  the  bom- 
bardment had  caused  heavy  casualties  in  No.  3  Company, 
north  of  the  road,  and  at  6.30  p.m.  Sergeant  A.  Clark  sent 
back  a  message,  "  Please  send  as  many  stretcher-bearers 
as  possible.  Only  few  men  left  to  carry  on.  Two  officers 
killed,  two  wounded.  Please  send  reinforcements  as  soon  as 
possible. ' '  Clark,  in  the  meantime,  took  over  the  command 
of  the  company,  re-disposed  the  men  under  heavy  shell 
and  trench-mortar  fire,  until  such  time  as  reinforcements 
could  be  sent,  thereby  denying  to  the  enemy  an  attempted 
lodgment  in  our  front  line  posts.  Clark  received  the 
Military  Medal  for  his  behaviour  on  this  occasion.  A 
platoon  of  No.  2  Company  was  at  once  sent  forward,  and 
platoons  of  No.  4  followed  afterwards  under  Second 
Lieutenant  H.  J.  Rowland,  and  the  line  was  held  intact. 
Captain  F.  W.  Bower  and  Second  Lieutenant  W.  Hender- 
son were  killed  on  this  occasion ;  five  officers  were  wounded, 
and  there  were  140  other  ranks  casualties. 

Meanwhile,  on  the  left,  the  10th  Battalion  had  become 
involved.  They  were  in  support  at  the  beginning  of  the 
battle,  but  at  2  p.m.,  after  a  heavy  bombardment,  the 
Germans  attacked  the  13th  King's  Royal  Rifle  Corps,  and 
D  Company  were  sent  up  as  reinforcements.  The 
Germans  attacked  in  great  force,  and,  after  a  severe 
struggle,  penetrated  the  British  positions.  The  desperate 
situation  which  resulted  provided  Lance-Corporal  Charles 
Graham  Robertson,  M.M.,  of  D  Company,  with  an  oppor- 
tunity for  an  action  calling  as  much  on  his  skill  as  his 
heroism.  He  was  in  charge  of  a  machine  gun,  and,  rinding 
the  Germans  had  almost  cut  him  off,  he  sent  back  two  men 
for  reinforcements.    Meanwhile,  with  one  man,  he  remained 


ACTION  OF  MARCH  8th,   1918  223 

at  his  post,  and  inflicted  heavy  loss  with  his  gun  until  he 
was  completely  cut  off.  No  help  arrived,  and  he  with- 
drew about  10  yards,  and  there  stood  again,  pouring  a 
sustained  fire  into  the  enemy.  The  two  men  were  at 
length  compelled  to  evacuate  the  position,  and  they  fell 
back  upon  a  defended  post.  The  Germans  continued  to 
press  forward  in  great  numbers,  and  Robertson  mounted 
the  parapet  with  his  comrade,  and,  fixing  his  gun  in  a 
shell-hole,  resumed  his  task  of  shooting  down  the  Germans 
who  were  pouring  down  and  across  the  top  of  an  adjoining 
trench.  The  value  of  Robertson's  resolute  and  skilful 
defence  can  hardly  be  exaggerated.  His  comrade  was 
killed  ;  he  himself  was  severely  wounded.  But  he  worked 
his  gun  until  his  ammunition  was  exhausted,  and  then  he 
managed  to  crawl  back,  bringing  the  gun  with  him.  He 
was  awarded  the  V.C. 

At  7.15  the  Germans  had  broken  into  the  line,  and  B  Com- 
pany were  sent  up.  Lieut. -Colonel  Waters  now  took  over 
the  command  of  the  brigade  sector.  Communications  with 
brigade  headquarters  had  been  cut.  The  13th  Rifles  had 
lost  heavily,  and  the  Germans  had  established  themselves, 
with  machine  guns,  in  our  lines.  Second  Lieutenants 
Dexter  and  Scott,  of  the  Fusiliers,  made  several  journeys 
to  the  front  under  a  most  severe  fire  with  20  men  from 
13th  K.R.R.C.  headquarters  and  carried  up  2,360  bombs. 
When  darkness  fell  the  Germans  had  secured  a  small  part 
of  the  British  positions,  but  were  firmly  established  there. 
During  the  night  three  counter-attacks  were  launched. 
B  Company  attacked  first  and  failed  through  lack  of 
bombs.  A  and  B  Companies  then  advanced  and  suc- 
ceeded in  establishing  a  strong  point,  but  were  unable  to 
press  the  attack  further.  On  the  third  attack  a  complete 
success  was  achieved,  the  enemy  were  driven  back  and 
the  position  was  re-established.  The  10th  had  lost 
heavily  in  the  operations,  but  not  so  heavily  as  the  13th 
Battalion.  Second  Lieutenants  H.  C.  B.  Sandall  and 
W.  G.  Crook  were  killed,  five  officers  were  wounded,  and 
there  were  61  other  ranks  casualties.    Later  in  the  day 


224    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

(March  9th)  a  divisional  wire  was  received  :  "  The  Corps 
Commander  wishes  to  congratulate  the  division,  and 
especially  the  two  battalions  concerned,  for  their  success- 
ful defence  in  last  night's  attack."  Lieut  .-Colonel  Waters 
and  Captain  Bainbridge  received  the  D.S.O.,  Captain 
Tanner  and  Second  Lieutenant  Edington  the  M.C.,  and 
Captain  Penfold  a  bar  to  the  M.C.,  for  these  operations, 
with  the  congratulations  of   the  Corps,   Divisional  and 

Brigade  Commanders. 

*  *  *  * 

The  7th  Battalion  on  December  21st  performed  an 
exploit  which  seems  almost  incredible.  They  were  rest- 
ing and  refitting  in  the  north  when  Lieut. -Colonel  C.  Play- 
fair  succumbed  to  the  stress  and  strain  of  the  Ypres  opera- 
tions and  had  to  go  to  hospital.  Major  A.  E.  Gallagher, 
D.S.O.,  took  over  command  on  the  2nd  until  two  days 
later,  when  Major  E.  G.  L'Estrange  Malone  rejoined  from 
divisional  headquarters.  On  December  9th  they  left  the 
area  and  a  week  later  relieved  the  9th  Royal  Irish  Fusi- 
liers on  Welsh  Ridge,  in  the  salient  south  of  Marcoing.  On 
the  21st  a  message  was  received  from  brigade  head- 
quarters asking  that  every  endeavour  should  be  made  to 
secure  a  prisoner  for  identification  purposes.  It  was  a 
bright  moonlight  night  ;  there  was  a  white  frost  on  the 
ground,  and  for  300  yards  one  could  see  clearly.  It  was 
therefore  the  very  last  kind  of  night  for  patrol  activity. 
But  Lance-Corporal  T.  Norris  took  out  a  patrol,  and,  dis- 
covering that  the  enemy  were  also  desirous  of  securing  a 
prisoner,  decoyed  them  into  the  hands  of  a  standing  patrol 
under  Corporal  G.  Collins.  A  prisoner  was  thus  captured 
within  three  and  a  half  hours  of  the  request  being  re- 
ceived from  the  brigade.  The  Divisional  and  Brigade 
Commanders  congratulated  the  battalion  on  their  promp- 
titude, which  was  surely  unique,  and  Lance-Corporal 
Norris  secured  the  Military  Medal. 

The  battalion  spent  Christmas  out  of  the  trenches,  but 
on  December  27th  they  went  back  to  the  front  line  in  time 
to  receive  a  heavy  Germanfattack.     The  position  was 


GERMAN  ATTACK  ON  SEVENTH  BATTALION    225 

almost  untenable.  The  trench  was  the  former  Hinden- 
burg  support  trench,  and  the  wire  was  still  standing  west- 
ward. There  were  no  communication  trenches  leading 
back  to  the  support  line,  and  the  right  of  the  line  formed  a 
sharp  salient  with  a  sap  at  one  point  to  the  German  trench 
blocked  by  a  pile  of  sandbags.  At  8  a.m.  on  the  morning 
of  December  30th  the  Germans  opened  a  furious  barrage, 
chiefly  enfilade,  and  then  attacked  over  the  snow  in  white 
suits.  B,  C  and  D  Companies  suffered  heavily.  D  in  the 
salient  lost  all  their  officers  and  most  of  the  men  either 
killed  or  captured.  The  men  could  not  retire,  even  if  they 
had  wished  to  do  so,  because  of  the  lack  of  communication 
trenches.  The  wire  precluded  a  retirement  over  the  open. 
Captain  Davidson,  the  medical  officer,  and  the  whole  of 
the  aid  post  in  D  Company  headquarters  were  captured. 
A  counter-attack  was  delivered,  and,  though  it  failed,  the 
Germans  were  held  and  the  position  was  consolidated.  On 
the  following  day  the  enemy  put  down  a  heavy  barrage,  and 
between  twenty  and  thirty  Germans  were  seen  approaching 
the  line.  A  sharp  burst  of  Lewis-gun  fire  dispersed  them, 
and  the  battalion  were  relieved  later  in  the  day.  They  had 
lost  9  officers  (6  missing)  and  244  other  ranks.  The  bulk 
of  the  latter  were  missing.  The  7th  were  now  reduced 
to  a  trench  strength  of  11  officers  and  167  other  ranks, 
and  when  Lieut  .-Colonel  Malone  returned  from  leave  on 
January  13th  he  found  his  battalion  amalgamated,  tem- 
porarily, with  the  Artists  Rifles. 

The  1st  and  12th  Royal  Fusiliers  had  left  the  Ypres 
area  in  the  third  week  of  September  ;  and  on  the  25th 
found  themselves  at  Vadencourt,  near  the  Omignon  River. 
On  October  28th — 29th  both  battalions  were  in  the  front 
line  when  a  patrol  of  the  1st  were  caught  by  a  much 
heavier  German  patrol  who  attempted  to  surround  them. 
But  the  Fusiliers  retired  behind  their  wire  and  inflicted 
heavy  casualties.  It  was  apparently  the  same  German 
patrol  which,  a  few  hours  later,  ran  into  the  "  Day  Posts  ' 
of  the  1 2th  Battalion  in  Somerville  Wood.  They  were 
driven  off,  leaving  behind  a  German  officer  who  provided 


226    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE   GREAT  WAR 

a  useful  identification.     Second  Lieutenant   Burch  and 
Lance-Corporal  J.  Thompson  were  officially  commended 
for  their  services  on  this  occasion.     The  12th  Battalion 
were  very  active  in  patrolling  at  this  time,  and  a  letter 
from  Major-General  A.  C.  Daly,  G.O.C.   24th  Division, 
congratulated  the  battalion  in  striking  terms  :    "  Second 
Lieutenant  Hills,  of  the  12th  Royal  Fusiliers,  spends  most 
of  his  time  in  No  Man's  Land,  and  has  been  doing  excep- 
tionally good  reconnaissance  and  patrol  work  ever  since 
the  division  came  into  this  bit  of  the  line.     He  has  gained 
valuable  information  several  times.     Another  officer  who 
always  accompanies  Second  Lieutenant  Hills  is  Second 
Lieutenant  Mears-Devenish,  also  of  the  12th  Royal  Fusi- 
liers."    It  was  but  natural  that  after  this  the  patrols 
should  be  more  active  and  venturesome  than  ever  ;    and 
on  November  27th   Lieutenant   A.   H.    Lee,   M.C.,   pro- 
ceeded along  the  Omignon  River  in  daylight  reconnoitring. 
Congratulations  were  received  for  this  piece  of  work  from 
the  Brigade  and  Divisional  Commanders. 

The  1st  Battalion,  while  in  divisional  reserve  at  Ven- 
delles  on  December  16th,  had  the  honour  of  being  in- 
spected by  Major-General  W.  B.  Hickie,  C.B.     They  had 
returned  to  the  line  on  the  Hervilly  left  subsector,  with 
Major  Hebden  in  command,  when  they  were  called  upon 
to  assist  a  raid  of  the  Rifle  Brigade.     Their  role  consisted 
of  making  a  demonstration  to  deceive  the  Germans  as  to 
where  the  raid  was  taking  place.     On  the  night  of  January 
19th,  1918,  dummy  figures  were  erected  in  front  of  the 
barbed  wire,  and  at  6.45  the  following  morning  the  Rifle 
Brigade,  on  the  right  of  the  Fusiliers,  raided  the  enemy 
trenches.     The  1st  Battalion  assisted  at  the  same  time 
with  intense  Lewis-gun  fire,  and  no  doubt  the  three  groups 
of   dummy   figures   looked   sufficiently  impressive.     The 
German  artillery  retaliated,  but  there  were  no  casualties, 
and  the  episode  seemed  only  an  amusing  interlude. 

On  December  nth  the  4th  Battalion  relieved  the  8th 
East  Yorks  in  the  Noreuil  right  subsector,  very  near  the 
place  where  they  had  been  engaged  at  the  time  of  the  battle 


SERVICE   IN   ITALY  227 

of  Cambrai.  The  Pudsey  support  trench  was  lost  the 
following  day,  and  it  was  arranged  that  the  4th  Royal 
Fusiliers  should  retake  it  and  London  support  trench. 
But  the  Germans  heavily  bombarded  the  line  immediately 
before  the  attack,  and  the  venture  proved  a  failure.  W 
and  Y  Companies  relieved  the  12th  West  Yorks  and  1st 
Northumberland  Fusiliers  in  the  front  line  and  London 
support.  Y  and  Z  were  placed  under  the  orders  of  the 
13th  King's  Liverpools,  and  the  latter  company,  holding 
a  block  in  Pudsey  support,  succeeded  in  advancing  it  150 
yards  up  the  trench.  But  this  useful  little  success  proved 
to  be  a  dubious  advantage,  for  Second  Lieutenant  Goddard 
was  killed  on  December  15th  owing  to  our  own  artillery 
falling  short  into  this  support.  In  addition  to  this,  there 
were  65  casualties  among  other  ranks. 

Italy. — For  two  of  the  Fusilier  Battalions  the  winter 
held  a  very  pleasant  experience.  The  26th  and  32nd 
Royal  Fusiliers  entrained  in  the  second  week  of  November 
for  Italy.  At  Ventimiglia,  where  they  crossed  the  Franco- 
Italian  frontier,  C  and  D  Companies  of  the  26th  Battalion 
marched  through  the  town  amid  scenes  which  recall  the 
reception  of  the  British  troops  in  France  in  August,  1914. 
The  march  became  a  sort  of  triumphal  progress,  and 
showers  of  carnations  fell  upon  the  men.  Italy  had 
recently  suffered  a  very  heavy  defeat,  and  the  troops  had 
not  yet  shown  that  they  could  check  the  apparently 
irresistible  advance  of  the  enemy.  It  was  this  that  made 
the  appearance  of  the  British  troops  so  welcome  to  the 
Italians  ;  and  the  two  Fusilier  battalions,  to  the  end  of 
their  stay  in  Italy,  received  the  most  cordial  reception 
from  the  people.  At  Genoa  the  officers  of  C  and  D  Com- 
panies of  the  26th  Battalion  were  welcomed  in  the  wait- 
ing-room of  the  main  station,  though  it  was  near  midnight 
and  they  were  in  easy  stages  of  undress.  Barrels  of  wine 
were  broached  on  the  platform,  and  the  companies  departed 
flushed  and  happy. 

On  November  19th  the  26th  Battalion  began  a  series  of 
forced  marches  from  Cerlongo  to  the  front.     They  marched 


228     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

in  battle  order  with  advance  guards,  and  at  night  outposts 
were  placed.  During  the  seven  days  November  19th — 
25th  inclusive,  the  battalion  covered  141  kilometres  with 
only  one  day's  rest.  On  the  24th  they  made  32  kilo- 
metres over  rough  mountain  roads.  The  billets  were 
almost  invariably  poor  on  this  march  ;  and  it  says  much 
for  the  battalion  that  few  men  dropped  out,  though  many 
were  of  short  service.  On  December  1st  the  battalion 
reached  Bavaria,  south  of  the  Montello,  on  the  right  rear 
of  the  brigade. 

Service  in  Italy  was  not  very  strenuous  for  either  batta- 
lion. The  Montello  is  a  hog's-back  hill  which  lies  in  the 
angle  of  the  Piave  where  it  turns  south  towards  the  coast. 
It  falls  sharply  to  the  river  with  a  shallow  foreshore. 

The  river  in  winter  was  rough  and  icy  cold,  with  a  swift 
current  that  constantly  changed  the  landmarks  in  the 
shallows,  and  made  cross  river  patrols  precarious  and  well 
nigh  impossible.  Cover  was  plentiful  on  the  Montello. 
Caves  and  dug-outs  in  the  sides  of  the  numerous  hollows 
of  the  hill  gave  ample  protection,  with  the  river  as  a  guard 
against  surprise.  But  movement  during  the  day  was 
forbidden,  and  the  night  was  turned  into  the  normal  day 
with  its  routine  of  meals,  beginning  at  6  p.m.  A  series  of 
parallel  roads  cut  the  hill ;  and  the  26th  held  the  left  series 
between  roads  3  and  5,  with  the  32nd  on  the  right,  guard- 
ing the  Nervesa  bridgehead. 

There  were  many  patrols  during  the  second  tour  of  the 
front  line  trenches  after  the  Christmas  interlude,  but  the 
success  was  not  proportioned  to  the  amount  of  energy 
and  willingness  expended.  The  river  proved  too  great  a 
handicap.  On  January  18th  the  battalion  were  relieved, 
and  a  few  days  later  moved  by  march  route  to  the  G.H.Q. 
training  area  at  Padua,  where  life  was  easy  and  pleasant. 
Athletics  formed  part  of  the  training,  and  a  routine  fea- 
ture was  a  run,  in  the  afternoon,  uphill  to  the  Monastery 
and  back.  The  battalion  had  only  left  Galzignano  a  few 
days  when  the  news  came  that  they  were  to  return  to 
France.      At  the  beginning  of  March  they  left  Italy,  and 


DISBANDMENT  OF  BATTALIONS  229 

after  a  long  train  journey  and  a  march  arrived  at  Sous 
St.  Leger,  where  the  division  was  reorganised. 

The  brigades  lost  one  of  their  battalions  ;  and  the  32nd 
Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers  was  disbanded,  the  personnel 
being  amalgamated  with  that  of  the  26th  Battalion.  It 
was  a  fate  which  befell  several  other  battalions  of  the  Royal 
Fusiliers  about  this  time.  The  8th,  who  had  fought  so 
magnificently  throughout  the  campaign,  ceased  to  be  in 
February.  They  had  been  closely  and  intimately  asso- 
ciated with  the  9th  during  their  service  in  France,  and 
their  stand  at  Cambrai  had  been  memorable.  The  12th 
Battalion,  who  had  been  linked  with  the  1st  for  over  two 
years  in  the  17th  Brigade,  also  disappeared  the  same  month. 
Parties  of  this  battalion  went  to  swell  other  Fusilier 
battalions :  the  1st,  10th  and  nth.  The  20th,  the  one 
remaining  Public  School  battalion,  received  orders  for 
disbandment  on  February  1st,  and  the  personnel  were 
divided  between  the  2nd,  4th  and  13th  Battalions.  The 
22nd  (Kensington)  Battalion  were  disbanded  by  the 
Brigadier  who  had  been  the  most  popular  and  inspiring 
of  their  commanding  officers,  and  the  23rd  and  24th  Batta- 
lions were  strengthened  accordingly. 

At  the  outbreak  of  the  great  German  offensive  in  March, 
1918,  there  were  only  fifteen  battalions  of  Royal  Fusiliers 
apart  from  the  battalions  of  the  London  Regiment. 


CHAPTER  XIII 


THE  GERMAN   OFFENSIVE 


It  is  strange  now,  looking  back  on  the  past,  how  little 
people  in  England  knew  of  the  turn  of  events  in  the  early 
part  of  the  year  1918.  Sir  Douglas  Haig  had  pointed  out 
that  the  British  Army  definitely  looked  to  the  defensive  ; 
but  his  despatches  were  not  published  until  long  after- 
wards, and  the  suggestions  of  a  German  offensive  were 
almost  as  quickly  denied  in  the  English  Press  as  they  were 
expressed.  At  the  front  there  was  little  ambiguity  about 
the  position.  Towards  the  end  of  the  second  week  in 
March  the  Germans  apparently  threw  aside  all  attempts  at 
concealment.  Troop  movements  could  be  seen  from  the 
British  lines,  and  German  officers  were  observed  a  few 
days  before  the  attack  examining  the  British  positions 
through  their  glasses.  But,  despite  the  knowledge  of  the 
staff  and  the  open  demonstration  of  the  enemy,  the 
attack  burst  over  the  line  with  remarkable  suddenness  and 
developed  with  unexpected  speed. 

The  Germans  struck  between  the  Oise  and  the  Scarpe. 
At  the  moment  when  the  blow  fell  the  extreme  right 
of  the  line  was  held  by  the  58th  Division  with  the 
second  line  Londons,  with  the  18th  Division  on  their 
left.  This  division  also  included  a  Royal  Fusilier  unit 
(nth  Battalion),  and  thus  the  regiment  were  repre- 
sented in  one  of  the  critical  sectors  of  the  front  by  a 
number  of  battalions.  Further  north,  almost  in  the 
centre  of  the  Fifth  Army  front,  lay  the  24th  Division, 
including  the  1st  Battalion.  Within  the  Third  Army 
area  lay  the  7th  and  4th  Battalions,  the  former  being 
still  in  the  Cambrai  salient  and  the  latter  on  the  Cherisy- 
Fontaine  sector.     The  56th  Division,  with  the  first  line 


POSITION  OF  ROYAL  FUSILIER  BATTALIONS  231 

Londons,  lay  north  of  the  Scarpe,  just  beyond  the  main 
area  of  the  German  attack  ;  and  there  were  other  Fusilier 
battalions  in  reserve  in  the  Third  Army  sector.  The  2nd 
Division  were  near  Rocquigny,  and  the  41st  west  of  Albert. 
These  two  divisions  included  four  Royal  Fusilier  units, 
all  of  whom  became  involved  in  the  actions  of  the  German 
offensive  in  Picardy. 

Of  the  other  battalions  of  Royal  Fusiliers  who  were  in 
France  at  this  moment,  the  2nd,  10th,  and  13th  were  in 
the  Ypres  sector  when  the  attack  began  ;  but  the  two  last 
were  involved  in  the  aftermath  of  the  Picardy  offensive. 
The  last  remaining  Royal  Fusilier  battalion,  the  9th,  took 
up  station  on  the  Ancre  at  a  critical  moment  in  the  attack 
and  did  excellent  service. 

To  each  of  the  battalions  their  own  individual  experi- 
ence was  of  paramount  importance,  and  these  were  days 
when  almost  every  hour  held  an  episode  of  thrilling 
interest.  But  much  of  the  experience  was  characteristic 
and  typical  rather  than  unique,  and  it  is  possible  to  form 
some  picture  of  this  phase  of  the  righting  in  France  from 

the  detailed  record  of  one  or  two  battalions. 
*  *  *  * 

The  7th  Battalion,  in  the  front  line  on  Highland  Ridge, 
experienced  a  German  gas  barrage  on  March  nth.  It 
began  about  7  p.m.  and  continued  until  4  a.m.  the  next 
day.  During  these  hours  there  was  a  continuous  whistle 
of  shells  which  fell  upon  the  support  lines  and  battery  posi- 
tions, exploding  with  a  very  slight  noise.  The  wind  being 
towards  the  German  lines,  the  gas  was  carried  back  to  the 
British  front  line,  and  the  men  had  to  wear  their  gas 
helmets  for  xour  or  five  hours.  At  the  point  of  exhaustion, 
they  removed  the  helmets  only  to  fall  a  prey  sooner  or 
later  to  the  fumes  rising  from  the  ground.  The  barrage 
was  also  put  down  on  the  following  night,  when  the  batta- 
lion were  to  be  relieved  ;  and,  despite  the  risk,  the  arrange- 
ment for  relief  was  confirmed.  The  men  stumbled  along 
through  the  gas.  The  night  was  dark,  and  the  fumes  of 
the  explosions  made  it  darker.     The  road  was  pitted  with 


232     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

shell  holes,  and  the  men  fell  into  them.  Some,  splashed 
by  the  contents  of  the  shells,  were  burned  on  the  arms  and 
neck.  Weary,  bathed  in  perspiration,  half  stifled,  they 
stumbled  on  through  the  gun  positions  to  the  train  of  open 
trucks,  in  which,  as  a  sort  of  natural  climax,  they  were 
kept  waiting  long  enough  in  the  biting  air  to  encourage 
chills  before  being  moved  to  the  rest  camp,  five  miles 
away.  Coughs,  sore  throats,  sore  eyes,  voices  reduced  to 
a  whisper,  were  the  portion  of  all ;  but  about  250  men 
had  to  be  sent  to  hospital.  The  battalion  went  back  to 
the  Ribecourt  right  sector  ;  and,  on  the  night  of  their 
return,  100  boys  joined  them.  They  had  come  from  Eng- 
land and  arrived  after  three  days'  travelling  in  trucks  at 
1  a.m.  on  March  21st.  They  had  never  seen  a  trench  and 
had  no  experience  of  actual  war. 

March  21st. — At  4  a.m.  the  preliminary  bombardment 
began.     High  explosive  shells  with  trench  mortars  firing 
with    extraordinary   rapidity  made  a  deafening    noise. 
But  the  7th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  incorrigibly  cheerful. 
'  Nothing  to  worry  about  "  was  the  report  from  A  Com- 
pany on  the  right .    D  reported  a  strange  cloud  approaching, 
and  this  was  soon  of  the  density  of  a  London  fog.     B  dis- 
covered that  the  Germans  were  attacking  and  had  got 
into  the  trenches  of  the  battalion  on  the  left.     B  beat  off 
the  attack  on  their  front  by  Lewis  gun  and  rifle  fire.     The 
S.O.S.  rocket  was  invisible  in  the  smoke.     A  pigeon  in- 
sisted on  choosing  the  wrong  direction.     Runners  at  last 
got  through,  and  the  barrage  came  down  in  front  of  the 
front   line.     But   the   bombardment   grew   heavier   and 
heavier.     B  Company  had  to  withdraw  on  the  uncover- 
ing of  their  flank.     Captain  K.  Hawkins,  M.C.,  the  com- 
mander, was  killed  at  the  entrance  to  his  headquarters. 
Captain  J.  Foster,  M.C.,  was  called  up  to  battalion  head- 
quarters to  arrange  a  counter-attack  with  C  Company. 
He  was  twice  buried  on  the  way  up  and  knocked  about  by 
the  debris  of  explosions,  but  eventually  he  arrived.     The 
men  from  the  left  battalion  began  to  drift  in.     The  right 
battalion's  line  was  pierced,  and  the  men  flowed  into  the 


THE  TERRITORIALS'  ORDEAL,  MARCH  21ST  233 

Royal  Fusiliers'  trench.  A  Company  was  ordered  to  re- 
organise them  and  take  the  lost  ground,  and  the  situa- 
tion was  restored.  An  officer's  servant  had  taken  charge 
on  the  left,  and  the  line  was  organised  and  vigilant.  At 
the  end  of  the  day  the  battalion  had  held  their  own  and 
assisted  to  prop  up  a  shaky  position. 

But  this  was  one  of  the  bright  spots  in  a  disastrous  day. 
The  4th  Royal  Fusiliers  had  been  subjected  to  the  same 
almost  unbearable  bombardment.  The  front  line  posts 
were  lost  in  the  attack  which  followed,  but  at  9.45  a.m. 
the  1st  Northumberland  Fusiliers  had  restored  the  brigade 
front.  At  3.40  p.m.  the  Germans  came  on  again.  They 
were  beaten  off  by  machine-gun  fire  in  the  battle  zone,  but 
at  6.15  p.m.  the  battalion  were  ordered  to  retire  to  Brown 
Support.  They  took  up  the  new  positions  with  the  2nd 
Suffolks  on  the  right  and  the  1st  Northumberland  Fusi- 
liers on  the  left. 

On  the  extreme  south  of  the  line  the  Fusilier  Brigade  of 
the  58th  Division  had  been  heavily  engaged  and  had  fought 
valiantly  against  overwhelming  odds.  The  2/2  Londons 
were  holding  a  long  line,  the  northern  boundary  being 
Travecy  and  the  southern  the  Oise  Canal,  nearly  5,000 
yards.  Their  strength  at  this  time  was  22  officers  and 
585  other  ranks,  an  absurdly  small  body  for  so  perilous  a 
length  of  front ;  and,  as  three  German  divisions  appear  to 
have  been  thrown  against  them,  the  battle  had  not  opened 
long  before  the  battalion  were  overwhelmed.  The  marshes 
of  the  Oise  were  thought  to  justify  so  long  a  line  ;  but  the 
water  was  unusually  low,  and  the  thick  mist  more  than 
neutralised  the  advantages  of  this  obstacle.  Travecy  was 
gassed,  and  no  further  news  was  gained  of  A  Company, 
stationed  there.  With  the  ten  men  of  the  trench  mortar 
battery,  they  numbered  no  more  than  200  ;  and  within 
an  hour  they  were  a  besieged  garrison,  cut  off  from  all 
communication  with  the  rest  of  the  army.  These  men 
held  their  original  positions  as  long  as  there  remained  even 
the  ghost  of  a  chance  of  success.  A  platoon,  reduced  to  10 
men  and  an  officer,  held  the  southern  end  of  the  village 


a34    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

until  only  the  officer  and  a  wounded  man  remained.  Two 
or  three  hundred  dead  Germans  lay  about  their  post 
before  they  fell  back  to  the  central  keep.  The  other 
platoons  fought  with  similar  stubbornness  until  at  noon 
the  remnants  of  all  were  concentrated  in  the  keep. 
This  small  body,  perhaps  50  to  60  strong,  was  seldom  left 
in  peace.  Throughout  the  day  and  night  and  up  to  dusk 
on  March  22nd  attempts  were  made  to  rush  the  position, 
for  they  found  time  and  opportunity  to  enliven  the  enemy 
transport  on  the  St.  Quentin  road,  and  a  group  of  German 
staff  officers  who  paused  on  the  road  were  reminded  forcibly 
that  the  little  garrison  still  existed.  At  length,  when 
darkness  fell  on  the  22nd,  the  weary  and  hungry  men 
had  exhausted  all  their  ammunition.  They  had  used  in 
their  gallant  resistance  18,000  rounds  S.A.A.,  200  trench 
mortar  shells  and  400  hand  grenades.  They  had  exacted  a 
heavy  price,  and  the  remaining  44,  including  the  wounded, 
were  taken  prisoners  after  two  days'  resistance  to  the 
inevitable. 

B  Company  and  battle  headquarters  at  La  Fere  stood  to 
their  positions,  though  they,  too,  were  cut  off  at  9.30  a.m. 
They  were  still  firing  in  the  evening,  and  then,  their  ammu- 
nition almost  at  an  end,  tried  to  fight  back  to  the  battalion. 
At  10  a.m.  Captain  Houghton  and  part  of  C  Company 
attempted  to  defend  the  right  flank.  A  quarter  of  an 
hour  later  Captain  G.  C.  Lees,  the  adjutant,  and  40  other 
ranks  were  all  that  remained  of  the  battalion.  With  these 
men  C.S.M.  Boag  fell  back  to  the  Crozat  Canal  to  defend 
the  battle  zone.  The  2 /4th  had  moved  to  the  canal  bank 
at  Fargniers  the  night  before  ;  and,  stationed  in  the  battle 
zone  on  the  morning  of  the  attack,  they  became  almost  at 
once  involved  in  the  fighting.  The  Germans,  advancing 
with  great  rapidity,  gained  a  footing  in  the  eastern  half  of 
Fargniers,  but  at  11  a.m.  were  completely  held  in  the 
battle  zone,  despite  repeated  attacks.  The  3rd  Londons, 
who  had  now  joined  the  brigade,  were  in  the  rear  zone,  and 
two  companies  reinforced  Fargniers  and  the  Farme  Rouge 
in  the  afternoon.     Quessy  was  garrisoned  by  a  composite 


ELEVENTH  BATTALION'S  ADVANCE   235 

force,  including  the  reserve  and  tunnelling  companies.  At 
8.30  p.m.  the  enemy  were  still  held,  but  the  Fusiliers 
were  ordered  to  withdraw  across  the  canal  on  the  reorgani- 
sation of  the  division's  front.  The  retirement  was  carried 
out  successfully,  without  the  enemy's  knowledge.  At  the 
end  of  the  day,  in  which  it  had  seemed  almost  hopeless  to 
attempt  to  cope  with  the  situation,  the  battle  zone  had 
been  lost,  and  the  Fusilier  Brigade  were  weaker  by 
1,266  officers  and  men.  The  2/2nd  had  been  practically 
wiped  out.  Their  task  had  been  quite  impossible,  and 
they  had  fallen  under  its  dead  weight. 

Even  the  nth  Battalion  in  the  division  lying  north  of 
the  58th  agreed  that  the  opening  bombardment  was  the 
worst  ever  experienced.  They  were  at  Caillouel  when  the 
battle  opened,  on  the  right  rear  of  the  Fusilier  brigade  of 
the  58th  Division.  But  at  8  a.m.  they  were  ordered  to 
the  Tombelle  Wood,  and  by  midday  the  lorries  had  taken 
them  thither.  At  1  p.m.  they  were  ordered  to  counter- 
attack and  retake  the  switch  line  between  Montescourt  and 
Ly  Fontaine.  The  Germans  were  already  at  Gibercourt, 
half-way  between  these  two  places  ;  and  it  was  necessary 
to  check  the  advance.  The  Fusiliers  crossed  the  Crozat 
Canal  to  Montescourt,  and  then,  with  the  Northants  on 
their  right,  swept  ahead  at  dusk.  The  nth  Battalion's 
advance  brushed  away  all  obstacles,  and  a  little  after  7  p.m. 
the  battalion  set  about  the  work  of  consolidation.  But 
by  this  time  the  enemy  were  close  up  to  the  canal  from 
Fargniers  to  Quessy,  and  the  work  of  the  nth  was  inter- 
rupted by  the  arrival  of  further  orders.  They  had  to 
form  part  of  a  rearguard  covering  the  retirement  of  the 
14th  Division  on  their  northern  flank  and  then  to  with- 
draw across  the  canal  to  Jussy.  The  men  marched  back 
with  the  experience,  novel  on  this  day,  of  having  carried 
out  a  successful  advance. 

The  1st  Battalion  had  been  in  the  line  in  front  of  Ven- 
delles  on  March  12th,  and  five  days  later  could  easily  see 
the  German  officers  examining  the  positions  with  field 
glasses.     But  they  were  relieved  on  the  following  day,  and 


236    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

were  out  of  the  line  when  the  offensive  began.  They 
promptly  moved  to  battle  positions — A  and  B  were  in  the 
front  line,  C  and  D  in  the  brown  line  east  of  Vendelles — 
and  for  an  hour  were  compelled  to  wear  gas  helmets. 
Battalion  headquarters  had  to  be  moved  four  times  owing 
to  the  heavy  shelling,  and  the  German  aeroplanes  were 
very  active.  But  there  were  singularly  few  casualties, 
though  Second  Lieutenants  J.  A.  Mears-Devenish  and 
L.  G.  Peaston  were  killed,  and  Second  Lieutenant  C.  H. 
Matthews  seriously  wounded. 

March  22nd. — On  March  22nd  the  attack  was  con- 
tinued over  the  whole  front.  The  left  front  of  the  24th 
Division  after  a  gallant  stand  had  been  forced  back 
through  the  successes  of  the  enemy  further  north  ;  and 
in  the  afternoon  the  1st  Battalion,  with  the  rest  of  the 
division,  retired  through  the  50th  Division  to  the  third  line 
of  defence  at  Bernes.  On  this  day  they  suffered  more 
severely,  among  the  casualties  being  Second  Lieutenant 
R.  W.  Uphill  killed,  Captain  W.  L.  T.  Fisher  wounded, 
and  Captain  G.  A.  Jones,  Second  Lieutenants  A.  Kerry 
and  S.  W.  Wallis,  missing. 

The  7th  Battalion  had  held  the  line  on  the  first  day  of 
battle  ;  they  were  now  to  retire.  At  1  a.m.  they  were 
ordered  to  withdraw  to  the  support  line  and  be  clear  of  the 
front  line  within  two  hours.  There  was  no  transport,  and 
what  could  not  be  carried  had  to  be  destroyed.  Heavy 
trench  mortars  and  gas  cylinders  were  made  useless,  and 
the  battalion  took  to  the  duckboard  track.  The  next 
morning  the  enemy  advanced  in  small  disconnected  bodies, 
while  an  aeroplane,  flying  about  150  feet  overhead,  took 
stock  of  the  new  positions.  The  British  artillery  at  first 
showed  no  sign  of  life  ;  the  German  was  all  too  active, 
and  the  infantry  moved  ahead  in  perfect  security  until 
they  came  within  range  of  the  Lewis  guns.  At  about 
11  a.m.  the  British  artillery  opened,  and  the  German 
advance  was  checked.  At  8  p.m.  the  withdrawal  was 
resumed. 

The  4th  Battalion  also  were  compelled  to  retreat  on  this 


LOSS   OF  TERGNIER,   MARCH  22nd        237 

day.  The  Germans  had  made  considerable  headway  on 
the  right  of  the  34th  Division,  causing  that  unit  to  retire 
and  thus  exposing  the  right  flank  of  the  3rd  Division.  In 
the  afternoon  a  determined  attack  was  made  on  the  4th 
Battalion's  block  in  Shaft  Trench,  but  it  was  beaten  off. 
The  battalions  on  both  sides  of  the  4th  were  driven  from 
their  positions  ;  and  the  Royal  Fusiliers,  after  holding  the 
enemy  off  for  some  time  with  both  flanks  in  the  air,  were 
withdrawn.  The  new  front  line  was  established  about 
7  p.m.,  and  some  time  after  parties  of  the  2nd  K.R.R. 
and  2nd  Suffolks  reported  themselves.  It  had  been  an 
unsatisfactory  day,  for  the  battalion  had  been  compelled 
to  retire  while  they  were  still  perfectly  able  to  hold  up  the 
weight  of  the  attack  on  their  own  sector.  Captain  J.  A. 
Coley  was  killed  during  the  action,  but  the  casualties 
were  not  heavy. 

At  the  other  end  of  the  line  the  remains  of  the  London 
battalions  fought  valiantly  to  hold  the  Germans  off  the 
canal.  A  Company  of  the  3rd  Londons  held  out  in 
Tergnier  against  counter-attacks,  and  it  was  not  until 
evening  that  the  village  changed  hands.  The  2/4th  were 
in  the  reserve  line,  about  a  mile  to  the  west,  at  Voeul.  At 
6.30  p.m.  low-flying  aeroplanes  attacked  the  position,  and 
were  beaten  off  with  machine-gun  fire.  At  night  patrols 
were  sent  out.  Though  the  battalion  had  suffered  so 
heavily,  they  had  lost  none  of  their  spirit ;  and  they 
succeeded  in  capturing  a  number  of  prisoners,  including  a 
machine  gun  and  its  crew. 

The  nth  Battalion  had  reached  their  new  positions 
after  the  withdrawal  across  the  canal,  after  midnight. 
They  were  thoroi  ghly  tired  out  and  very  hungry,  and 
the  cookers  were  the  most  pleasant  sight  they  had  on  the 
west  bank  of  the  canal.  Everything  else  was  sufficient 
to  suggest  despair.  The  canal  was  an  obstacle  to  the 
German  advance  ;  but  above  Jussy  it  makes  a  sharp  bend 
to  the  west,  leaving  the  town  in  a  small  salient.  The 
German  machine  guns  were  able  to  enfilade  the  position 
and  make  it  untenable.     The  nth  Royal  Fusiliers  soon 


238    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

had  experience  of  the  difficulties  of  the  position. 
Shortly  after  daylight  the  German  attack  began.  Field 
guns  and  trench  mortars  were  brought  up,  under  cover  of 
which  repeated  attempts  were  made  to  cross  the  canal. 
In  the  afternoon,  after  renewed  attacks  in  strength,  the 
enemy  secured  a  footing  on  the  west  side  of  the  canal.  A 
fierce  struggle  took  place  on  the  towpath,  but,  with  the 
help  of  A  Company  of  Northants,  the  situation  was 
restored,  and  the  Germans  were  forced  back  across  the 
canal.  Tergnier  had  been  lost ;  the  enemy  were  across 
the  canal  in  that  sector  ;  but  on  the  front  of  the  54th 
Brigade,  which  included  the  nth  Royal  Fusiliers,  the  line 
was  still  intact  at  nightfall. 

March  23rd. — The  following  was  one  of  the  most 
critical  days  of  the  offensive.  Both  the  Third  and  Fifth 
Armies  had  readjusted  their  front,  and  the  day  was  to 
put  the  new  positions  to  the  test.  The  night  had  witnessed 
another  withdrawal  of  the  7th  Battalion.  At  8  p.m.  on 
the  22nd  the  battalion  had  begun  to  move  back  through 
Trescault  to  the  Metz  switch  at  the  southern  edge  of 
Havrincourt  Wood.  The  imposing  name  was  applied  to 
a  group  of  trenches,  about  two  feet  deep,  with  no  field  of 
fire  and  without  dug-outs.  There  was  no  cover,  and  no 
communication.  There  was  no  water,  no  transport, 
little  ammunition  ;  and  when  the  Germans  were  seen 
advancing  in  the  morning  the  battalion  were  ordered  to 
retire  once  more.  Captain  Thomas  was  placed  in  com- 
mand of  the  rearguard,  while  Captain  Foster  led  the  first 
two  companies.  They  marched  through  the  wood  to 
Neuville.  Shells  fell  among  the  rearguard,  but  for- 
tunately the  casualties  were  few.  The  battalion  at 
length  reached  Lechelle.  The  trenches  were  poor.  The 
battalion  had  no  rations.  The  water  was  cut  off.  There 
was  no  reserve  of  ammunition.  The  Germans  were  seen 
to  be  advancing  from  the  south  and  from  the  right  flank. 
At  this  moment  the  1st  Artists  Rifles  and  the  4th  Bedfords 
were  holding  a  line  east  of  Ytres,  and  the  7th  Royal 
Fusiliers   were   in   support.     The   position   rapidly  grew 


SEVENTH  BATTALION'S   RETIREMENT    239 

critical.     Heavy  shell  began  to  fall  on  the  huts  in  Lechelle 
where  the  men  had  been  placed  for  greater  safety.     But 
unless  they  retired,  they  would  be  cut  off.     So  the  bat- 
talion had  to  fall  back  over  the  open  to  the  Rocquigny-Bus 
road.    The  Germans  opened  fire  from  the  south.    Shrapnel, 
high  explosive  and  machine-gun  fire  made  the  situation 
almost  intolerable.     At  last  the  battalion  got  through  the 
barrage ;  and  then  Captain  Forster  sounded  his  hunting 
horn,  and  the  stragglers  began  to  collect  from  various 
directions.     Major  Whigham  was  evacuated  with  shell 
shock.     Lieut. -Colonel  Malone  had  been  wounded  by  a 
machine  gun.     From  the  point  of  view  of  efficiency  these 
were  very  severe  blows.    Captain  J.  Forster,  M.C.,  assumed 
command.     At  7  p.m.  the  battalion  were  ordered  to  fill 
the  gap  between  the  47th  Division  and  the  right  of  the 
190th  Brigade.     The  left  of  the  battalion  was  moved  to 
the  Bus-Lechelle  road,  when  the  enemy  were  reported 
advancing  on  Bus.     An  intense  machine-gun  fire  was 
opened  on  the  men,  and  touch  could  not  be  obtained  with 
troops  on  the  left,  where  the  rest  of  the  Brigade  were 
supposed  to  be.     A  patrol  sent  out  to  Bus  found  the 
Germans   there,   and  did  not  return.     Dumps  were    on 
fire  on  every  side.     The  enemy  were  seen  to  be  advancing 
rapidly  towards  the  main  road.     The  position  appeared 
to  be  beyond  hope. 

Many  battalions  in  these  days  had  the  same  feeling  of 
complete  isolation,  as  though  no  one  was  fighting  and 
prepared  to  fight  but  themselves.  The  2nd  Division  were 
operating  very  close  to  the  area  of  the  7th  Battalion,  and 
to  the  Fusilier  battalions  included  in  it  the  retirement 
of  the  63rd  Division  appeared  inexplicable  and  tended  to 
make  their  own  position  untenable.  The  central  control 
of  the  operations  appeared  to  have  given  way.  The  17th 
Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers  had  been  in  the  fine  near  La 
Vacquerie  in  the  third  week  of  March.  On  the  20th  they 
could  observe  a  number  of  German  staff  officers  in  the 
enemy  positions  opposite  their  front.  Hundreds  of  men 
were  seen  entering  and  leaving  the  trenches  in  full  pack, 


240     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

and  machine  guns  were  being  taken  up  to  the  front  and 
support  lines.  But  the  Royal  Fusiliers  were  not  left  to 
resolve  the  riddle.  They  were  relieved  that  night  and 
went  back  to  Rocquigny.  On  March  22nd  they  began 
to  move  up  again  with  the  24th  Royal  Fusiliers,  the  5th 
Brigade  being  attached  to  the  17th  Division  as  reserve 
troops.  The  17th  Battalion  moved  up  to  the  Green  Line 
as  the  24th  moved  back  to  it  on  March  23rd.  At  2  a.m. 
the  17th  were  standing  to  in  expectation  of  an  immediate 
attack.  Colonel  Weston  was  appointed  outpost  com- 
mander of  the  6th  Brigade.  At  10  a.m.  and  again  at 
1  p.m.  the  line  was  heavily  shelled.  Headquarters  had 
already  been  twice  moved ;  and  they  were  moved  once 
again  in  the  afternoon,  to  the  north-east  corner  of  Haplin- 
court.  About  4.50  p.m.  the  Germans  were  seen  to  be 
entering  Velu  Wood  in  large  numbers,  and  a  few  minutes 
later  enemy  shells  began  to  burst  all  round  and  over  the 
back  areas.     The  Germans  were  already  in  Bus. 

Meanwhile  at  2  p.m.  the  17th  Division  had  retired 
through  the  Green  Line,  which  now  became  the  front  line. 
The  24th  Battalion  were  astride  the  Bertincourt-Velu 
road,  but  two  companies  were  now  sent  to  reserve  positions 
south-west  of  Bertincourt.  The  17th  Battalion  at  this 
moment  had  already  moved  further  west  under  the  threat 
of  an  outflanking  movement  from  the  south.  At  10  p.m. 
the  enemy  attacked  the  headquarters  troops  and  the 
remains  of  the  1st  K.R.R.  just  north  of  Bus.  The  two 
reserve  companies  of  the  24th  formed  a  defensive  flank 
north-east  of  Bus,  and  the  attack  was  beaten  off.  The 
troops  fought  in  complete  ignorance  of  the  dispositions 
of  the  63rd  Division,  on  their  right.  The  Germans  were 
in  Bus,  but  the  7th  Royal  Fusiliers  could  not  have  been 
much  more  than  1,000  yards  away,  and  between  them 
were  the  other  battalions  of  the  190th  Brigade. 

The  readjustment  of  the  Third  Army  positions  south 
of  the  Scarpe  required  the  withdrawal  of  the  4th  Battalion 
with  the  3rd  Division  and  the  divisions  on  their  flanks. 
The  retirement  was  carried  out  between  1  a.m.  and  7  a.m. 


FURTHER  WITHDRAWAL,   MARCH   23RD    241 

The  Germans  were  already  in  the  rear  of  the  support  line, 
but  no  casualties  were  suffered,  and  the  movement  was 
completed  without  incident. 

On  the  front  of  the  Fifth  Army  the  day  witnessed  a  more 
critical  development.  In  the  morning  the  1st  Battalion 
took  up  positions  in  front  of  Monchy  Lagache,  with  C 
and  D  Companies  in  the  front  line  and  A  and  B  in  support. 
On  the  previous  evening  General  Gough  had  intended  to 
secure  the  main  Peronne  bridgehead  by  a  line  between 
Vraisne  and  Croix.  Monchy  Lagache  lay  at  about  the 
centre  of  the  position,  and  the  1st  Battalion  were  there- 
fore looking  forward  to  a  stand.  But  in  the  morning 
Gough's  position  was  such  that  he  judged  it  too  great  a 
hazard  to  risk  decisive  action  with  tired  troops  against  an 
apparently  limitless  stream  of  advancing  Germans,  and 
orders  were  accordingly  given  for  a  gradual  withdrawal 
to  the  line  of  the  Somme.  The  1st  Battalion  therefore 
retired  from  Monchy  Lagache,  fighting  rearguard  actions. 
Part  of  the  retreat  was  covered  by  the  72nd  Brigade,  and 
the  battalion  reached  the  Licourt  position  at  night  after 
a  very  trying  day,  in  which,  however,  but  few  casualties 
had  been  sustained. 

On  the  night  of  the  22nd  the  nth  Battalion,  as  we  have 
seen,  were  still  holding  the  left  sector  of  the  canal  to  Jussy. 
But  at  dawn  on  the  next  morning,  under  cover  of  a  thick 
fog,  the  Germans  forced  the  canal  crossing  and  began  to 
issue  in  force  from  the  town.  Second  Lieutenant  Smedley 
scouted  right  out  to  the  left  flank,  now  in  the  air,  "  and 
up  to  the  village  under  heavy  machine-gun  fire.  This 
highly  valuable  work  was  carried  out  with  the  greatest 
pluck  and  determination.  During  the  subsequent  with- 
drawal Second  Lieutenant  Smedley,  although  wounded, 
carried  his  task  to  completion  by  covering  the  left  flank." 
Such  is  the  official  description  of  an  action  which  gained 
for  this  officer  the  M.C.  But  in  reality  this  piece  of  work 
was  one  of  extraordinary  daring.  The  fog  was  almost 
impenetrable  beyond  a  few  feet.  The  battalion  had  only 
moved  back  to  Jussy  the  day  before,  and  it  was  under 

F.  R 


242    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

such  conditions  that  Smedley  felt  his  way  to  the  German 
position.  No  one,  indeed,  could  tell,  under  such  conditions, 
where  the  enemy  were.  And  when  a  little  after  noon  they 
became  located,  they  were  some  distance  in  the  rear  of 
the  canal  on  the  Jussy-Faillouel  road.  The  thin  line  on 
the  canal  became  like  a  sieve,  and  knots  of  Germans 
trickled  through.  The  battle  line  became  a  scene  of  small 
isolated  encounters.  Major  Deakin  and  Captain  Pearcy 
were  captured.  The  Germans  had  got  round  both  flanks, 
and  penetrated  through  the  patches  of  the  line  they 
had  obliterated.  Captain  Brooking  for  fourteen  hours 
defended  the  position  held  by  his  company  on  the  canal 
line  against  repeated  attempts  by  the  enemy  to  cross  in 
large  numbers.  The  thick  fog  made  this  extremely 
difficult,  "  and  it  was  by  his  personal  example  and  skilful 
handling  that  the  enemy  were  frustrated  with  considerable 
losses.  Eventually  he  was  badly  wounded,  but  continued 
to  encourage  his  men  with  the  utmost  disregard  of  danger  " 
until  he  was  cut  off. 

The  defence  of  the  canal  was  most  gallant.  The  officers 
everywhere  suffered  terribly,  fighting  till  they  fell  or  were 
cut  off  and  captured.  Lieutenant  Knott  killed  four  of 
the  enemy,  and  then,  his  ammunition  exhausted,  clubbed 
another  before  he  was  killed.  Part  of  the  battalion  did 
not  receive  the  order  to  retire,  and  when  the  fog  lifted  at 
midday  the  Germans  were  in  front  and  on  both  flanks  ; 
only  a  small  party  got  back  to  the  railway  line.  There 
another  stand  was  made  with  the  headquarters  troops, 
until  the  Germans  were  within  ioo  yards  and  were  again 
working  round  the  flanks.  The  colonel  fought  with  this 
body  and  escaped  with  the  remnants.  Sergeant  W. 
Brisby,  M.M.,  gained  his  D.C.M.  by  his  coolness  and 
extraordinary  courage.  He  organised  the  party  who 
fought  through  the  enveloping  line  and  took  part  in  the 
last  stand.  Private  Jordan  secured  the  same  decoration 
for  organising  a  bayonet  attack  when  called  upon  to 
surrender.  By  this  means  the  remainder  of  his  company 
secured  the  freedom  to  get  back  to  the  battalion. 


CASUALTIES  OF  THE  ELEVENTH  BATTALION  243 

With  various  intermediate  halts,  the  nth  Royal  Fusiliers 
at  length  reached  Caillouel ;  but  they  returned  to  the 
village  in  a  very  different  condition  from  that  in  which 
they  had  left  it.  They  had  held  an  exposed  position  on  the 
canal,  and  no  gallantry  could  compensate  for  the  handicaps 
of  their  position  and  the  day.  They  were  now  only  2 
officers  and  25  other  ranks  strong;  and  even  when  the 
battle  surplus  had  been  embodied,  including  tailors,  police, 
pioneers,  shoemakers  and  drums,  they  only  mustered 
8  officers  and  180  other  ranks.  Yet  the  battalion  were 
full  of  spirit,  though  they  were  placed  in  brigade  reserve. 

The  3rd  Londons  on  the  same  day  were  engaged  at 
Noreuil,  and  fell  back  to  Chauny,  where,  with  the  2/2nd 
Battalion,  positions  were  taken  up  for  the  morrow. 

March  24th. — On  the  night  of  March  23rd — 24th  the 
battle  front  south  of  Ypres  was  the  critical  quarter  of  the 
line,  and  the  24th  saw  the  development  of  the  disorganisa- 
tion which  had  begun  on  the  previous  day.  The  4th 
Battalion  again  gave  more  than  they  got,  and  the  con- 
stantly repulsed  attacks  cost  the  enemy  dearly.  Luden- 
dorff  noted  how  exhausted  the  Seventeenth  Army  were 
on  March  25th,  and  the  steadfast  stand  of  the  4th 
Battalion  played  its  part  in  the  general  scheme  which 
achieved  this  successful  result,  for  this  flank  became  the 
fixed  point  upon  which  the  remainder  of  the  Third  and 
the  Fifth  Armies  pivoted. 

The  26th  Battalion  (41st  Division)  had  been  brought  up 
to  the  front  hurriedly  on  the  first  day  of  the  offensive.  On 
the  22nd  the  division  had  entered  the  front  line  near  Vaulx- 
Vraucourt  to  fill  the  breach  which  was  opening  between 
the  40th  and  6th  Divisions.  The  battalion  were  in  support, 
though  one  after  another  the  companies  became  involved 
on  the  flanks  of  the  brigade,  and  fought  very  valiantly 
against  repeated  attacks.  On  the  24th  the  position  on 
the  Fifth  Army  front  had  changed  so  fundamentally 
that  the  Third  Army  front  was  drawn  back  a  much 
greater  distance,  and  Lieut.-Colonel  H.  M.  Tuite  was 
killed   while   commanding   the   rearguard,   who   covered 

R  2 


244     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

the  retirement  of  the  mass  of  the  battalion.  When 
he  fell  an  attempt  was  made  to  carry  him  back  ;  but, 
seeing  how  near  the  enemy  were  and  how  inevitable  it 
was  that  the  men  should  be  captured  if  they  stopped  to 
remove  him,  he  ordered  them  to  leave  him.  He  was 
heard  of  no  more,  and  died  in  this  way  on  the  field  of 
battle  very  gallantly. 

At  the  same  time,  a  little  to  the  south  the  2nd  Division 
were  also  retiring.  The  17th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  the 
last  to  retire,  after  fighting  a  stubborn  rearguard.  They 
passed  through  Villers  and  Beaulencourt  to  Ligny,  where 
the  24th  Battalion  joined  them  in  position  south  of  the 
village.  Further  south  lay  the  23rd  Battalion,  who  had 
held  the  position  on  the  flank  of  the  Third  Army,  and 
after  fighting  an  engagement  with  both  flanks  in  the  air 
had  fallen  back  on  Le  Transloy  at  dusk. 

The  7th  Battalion  at  5  a.m.  were  covering  the  main 
Bus-Rocquigny  road,  and  in  this  position  held  up  for  a 
time  the  enemy's  advance.  Rocquigny  was  heavily 
bombarded  and  subjected  to  machine-gun  fire  ;  and  at 
8  a.m.  the  battalion  fell  back  on  Le  Transloy,  where  they 
were  congratulated  by  the  G.O.C.  division  on  their  fine 
work  during  the  first  stage  of  the  retreat.  In  a  few  hours 
the  enemy  pressure  on  their  position  was  such  that  the 
battalion  were  ordered  to  fall  back  once  more.  They 
retired  as  left  flank  guard  across  country  through  Flers  and 
High  Wood  to  Bazentin  le  Petit.  The  village  was  reached 
at  6  p.m.  after  several  encounters  with  the  enemy.  The 
battalion  were  now  ordered  to  divisional  reserve  at  Cource- 
lette,  and  spent  the  night  in  a  chalk  quarry  in  the  open. 

While  these  movements  were  taking  place  in  the  Third 
Army  the  1st  Royal  Fusiliers  were  being  withdrawn  from 
the  line  on  the  Somme  front.  At  7  a.m.  they  began  their 
march  to  Chaulnes,  where  they  took  up  outposts  for  the 
night.  The  nth  Battalion  were  still  not  far  from  the 
Oise.  During  the  day  they  were  in  brigade  reserve 
behind  the  Crepigny  ridge.  To  the  north,  the  village 
of  Beaugies  was  thought  to  be  held  by  the  French,  and  a 


WITHDRAWAL  CONTINUED,  MARCH  24TH-25TH  245 

patrol  of  the  nth  Battalion  were  sent  out  to  clear  up  the 
position.  The  road  rises  sharply  from  Crepigny  through 
a  thick  wood,  and  it  was  difficult  to  see  clearly.  Captain 
Wattenbach  with  five  men  and  a  Frenchman  went  out 
after  dark,  and  near  Beaugies  ran  into  a  body  of  Germans. 
At  first  it  was  thought  that  they  must  be  British  troops, 
since  no  one  at  the  time  knew  that  the  enemy  had  pene- 
trated so  far  west ;  but  when  the  true  state  of  the  case  was 
discovered  the  patrol  made  their  way  back  to  report. 
The  brigade  fell  back,  but  the  position  was  not  cleared  up 
till  the  following  day. 

Still  further  south  the  2/2nd  and  3rd  Londons,  who  had 
taken  positions  east  of  Chauny  on  the  previous  day,  were 
attacked  with  great  force  after  three  hours'  bombard- 
ment. Despite  their  weakness,  the  attack  was  beaten  off, 
and  the  battalions  were  enabled  to  continue  their  retire- 
ment, the  2/2nd  to  Abbecourt  and  the  3rd  Londons  to 
Quierzy  and  Manicamp. 

March  25th. — The  4th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  not  engaged 
on  March  25th.  The  position  on  this  part  of  the  front 
had  hardened.  The  Germans  had  been  fought  to  a  stand- 
still, and  for  two  days  there  was  no  attack.  But  further 
south  the  enemy  had  crossed  the  Somme  and  were  now 
fighting  on  the  old  Somme  battlefield.  North  of  Bapaume 
the  26th  Battalion  were  heavily  engaged  during  the  day, 
as  the  Germans  delivered  repeated  attacks  east  of  Achiet 
le  Grand.  But,  under  the  command  of  Major  Etchells,  all 
attacks  were  beaten  off. 

On  the  night  of  the  24th,  the  17th  and  24th  Battalions 
had  assembled  just  east  of  Ligny  Thilloy,  and  contact 
had  not  been  made  with  the  enemy  when  they  withdrew 
and  marched  south-west  along  the  Bapaume-Albert  road. 
Between  Pys  and  Le  Sars  the  brigade  to  which  both 
battalions  belonged  took  up  positions  and  met  the  German 
attack  with  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire.  But  at  noon 
fresh  attacks  were  delivered.  Grevillers  and  Bihucourt 
fell.  These  villages  were  on  the  north  of  the  position 
held  by  the  two  Fusilier  battalions,  and  their  division 


246     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

was  out  of  touch  with  the  divisions  farther  south.  At 
2.10  p.m.  the  Germans  were  pushing  through  Le  Sars,  and 
could  be  seen  advancing  under  cover  of  a  smoke  screen 
on  Courcelette.  At  4  p.m.  the  17th  Battalion  were 
ordered  to  stand  at  all  costs.  But  two  battalions  moved 
off  on  the  right,  and  Colonel  Weston  led  a  counter-attack 
with  about  40  men  and  drove  the  enemy  back  over  the 
railway.  The  51st  Division,  on  the  left,  were  now  forced 
to  retire.  The  right  flank  gave  way,  Major  Pretty  being 
killed.  The  battalion,  now  at  Miraumont,  began  to  retire 
along  the  main  road  to  Beaucourt,  which  appeared  to  be 
full  of  officers  and  men  of  different  units.  Another  move 
was  made  to  a  spot  just  south  of  the  Ancre  near  Hamel. 
The  24th  Battalion  had  also  fallen  back  to  the  spur  east 
of  Hamel,  and  in  these  positions  the  night  was  passed. 

The  23rd  Royal  Fusiliers  had  spent  the  night  24 — 25th 
at  Le  Transloy.  Their  position  had  been  necessarily 
exposed,  as  their  brigade  (90th)  had  been  detached  from 
the  2nd  Division  in  an  attempt  to  fill  the  gap  between  the 
Third  and  Fifth  Armies.  But  at  dawn  on  the  25th  the 
troops  moved  westwards  and  took  up  positions  around 
Gueudecourt.  They  reverted  to  the  2nd  Division  at  this 
place,  but  their  position  was  still  exposed.  The  neigh- 
bouring troops  were  well  to  the  west  of  them,  and,  not 
far  away,  units  could  be  seen  to  the  north  and  the  south 
retiring,  though  in  perfect  order.  Brig. -General  Barnett- 
Barker  (99th  Brigade)  was  urged  by  generals  and  staff 
officers  of  other  units  to  retire  with  them.  A  5-9  shell 
burst  beyond  the  village,  and  a  little  later  Barnett-Barker 
was  persuaded  of  the  uselessness  of  defending  the  village. 
A  tent  had  been  put  up  for  him  by  the  roadside  on  the 
west  of  the  village,  and  he  wrote  the  order  to  retire  at 
discretion  at  5.30  p.m.,  stating  that  brigade  headquarters 
were  moving  back  a  mile.  Another  shell  fell  near  by,  and 
he  was  killed  at  once,  as  he  was  leaving  his  tent  for  his 
new  headquarters.* 

*  The  first  commanding  officer  of  the  22nd  Royal  Fusiliers  in  France, 
Barnett-Barker  was  closely  associated   with  the    battalion    until    its 


BACK  TO  THE  SOMME  BATTLEFIELD    247 

At  dusk  the  23rd  Battalion  fell  back  to  Eaucourt 
l'Abbaye  after  an  unsatisfactory  day.  They  had  stood 
like  an  island  in  the  wash  of  retiring  troops,  and  at  length 
had  themselves  been  forced  to  fall  back.  Lieut. -Colonel 
Winter,  as  senior  colonel,  assumed  command  of  the  brigade, 
and  Major  Lewis  took  over  command  of  the  battalion. 

It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that,  though  the  23rd  were  never 
seriously  challenged  at  Gueudecourt  on  this  day,  the 
17th  Battalion  had  been  heavily  attacked  at  Miraumont, 
five  miles  to  the  west,  the  24th  Battalion  were  compelled 
to  retire  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Le  Sars,  three  miles 
further  west,  and  the  7th  were  outflanked  at  Courcelette, 
four  miles  to  the  west.  Neither  Le  Sars  nor  Courcelette 
lay  as  much  as  a  mile  distant  from  Gueudecourt  in  a  north 
and  south  direction.  At  noon  the  7th  Royal  Fusiliers 
took  up  a  high  position  covering  Courcelette.  The  enemy 
were  still  advancing  in  force,  and  the  troops  in  front  of  the 
battalion  were  forced  behind  their  position,  and  touch  was 
not  maintained  on  the  flanks.  As  a  consequence  the 
battalion  began  to  withdraw  slowly  towards  Thiepval  at 
2  p.m.,  covered  by  a  rearguard,  with  the  Germans  pressing 
round  both  flanks.  They  became  involved  in  a  heavy 
engagement,  and  many  men  were  cut  off.  At  8  p.m. 
they  took  up  a  position  on  the  right  of  Thiepval  road  and 
held  on  until  4  a.m.  on  the  next  day.  The  anomalies  in 
the  Third  Army  position,  as  reflected  in  the  fortunes  of 
the  Royal  Fusilier  battalions,  appear  greater  than  those 
of  the  Fifth  Army. 

The  1st  Battalion  moved  forward  this  day  from  Chaulnes 
to  Dreslincourt  ;  but,  encountering  very  heavy  forces, 
they  were  compelled  to  fight  their  way  back  to  Chaulnes. 
The  remnants  of  the  nth  Battalion  further  south  were  sent 
to  hold  the  Montagne  de  Grandru  *   and  prevent  the 

disbandment.  The  conventional  phrase  that  he  was  beloved  by  the 
battalion  was  in  this  case  literally  true,  for  he  earned  and  won  an 
extraordinary  regard  and  respect  from  all  who  came  in  contact  with  him. 
*  It  is  a  point  of  interest  that  on  this  position  they  lay  only  two  or 
three  miles  from  Crisolles,  where  the  4th  Battalion  had  halted  in  the 
retreat  after  Le  Cateau  in  19 14. 


248     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Germans  getting  round  to  the  rear  of  the  18th  Division. 
The  enemy  had  been  seen  earlier  in  the  morning  marching 
behind  a  band  to  the  west,  on  the  left  flank  of  the  division. 
About  ii  a.m.  a  heavy  machine-gun  fire  was  opened  from 
Behericourt,  on  the  right  rear  of  the  Fusiliers'  line.  They 
were  almost  cut  off,  and  the  Bedfordshires  had  to  move 
up  on  their  right  to  cover  their  retreat.  The  nth  Batta- 
lion slipped  away  by  platoons  under  a  very  heavy  fire, 
and,  some  French  troops  coming  up,  the  Fusiliers  and 
Bedfordshires  were  withdrawn  to  the  reserve.  All  en- 
deavours were  being  shaped  to  enable  these  troops  to 
cross  the  Oise,  and  the  Germans,  in  attempting  to  get 
round  to  the  rear,  hoped  to  cut  them  off.  When  the 
Fusiliers  returned  from  the  Montagne  de  Grandru  it  was 
hoped  that  they  could  cross  by  the  bridge  at  Babceuf. 
But  the  Germans  were  found  to  be  already  in  possession  ; 
and  the  troops  were  moving  westwards  when  it  was  dis- 
covered that  there  was  a  gap  between  the  French  and  the 
53rd  Brigade  with  only  a  thin  line  of  75  's  in  position.  It 
was  at  once  determined  to  prevent  the  Germans  forcing 
this  gap  and  capturing  the  guns  by  a  counter-attack  ;  and 
the  Fusiliers  were  put  into  the  fighting  once  more  with 
the  Bedfords.  With  a  spirited  advance  *  at  5.30  p.m. 
Babceuf  was  retaken,  after  some  street  fighting  ;  and  the 
Fusiliers  were  then  withdrawn  westward  to  Varesnes, 
where  they  crossed  to  safety  over  the  half-demolished 
bridge,  and  left  the  line  for  a  few  days.  The  battalion  had 
lost  practically  all  but  its  spirit.  The  London  battalions 
of  the  58th  Division  had  already  found  sanctuary  across 
the  Oise,  and  on  this  day  held  Quierzy  and  Manicamp  on 
the  south  of  the  river.  On  the  following  day  the  remnants 
of  the  three  battalions  were  formed  into  one  battalion 
under  command  of  Lieut. -Colonel  R.  H.  Dann,  D.S.O. 

Aveluy. — The  positions  on  the  north  of  the  Somme  now 
began  to  take  final  shape.  The  23rd  Royal  Fusiliers  had 
slipped  back  from  Eaucourt  l'Abbaye  during  the  night, 
and  on  the  26th  were  occupying  positions  near  the  17th 

*   "  A  brilliant  counter-attack,  capturing  150  prisoners  "  (Despatch). 


NINTH  BATTALION  ENGAGED  249 

and  24th  Battalions,  close  to  Beaumont  Hamel.  At 
Hamel  the  17th  and  24th  Battalions  held  positions  near 
the  final  resting  place  of  the  3rd  Army  front.  On  the 
north,  however,  the  Germans  crossed  the  Ancre  and  took 
Colincamps  in  the  morning,  but  the  village  was  retaken 
by  New  Zealand  troops  in  the  afternoon.  On  the  left 
flank  the  23rd  Battalion  were  heavily  engaged  until 
relieved  by  the  New  Zealand  Division,  but  the  17th  and 
24th  were  not  attacked. 

Further  south  the  9th  Battalion  had  now  entered  the 
battle.  On  the  24th  they  had  been  at  Auchy  le  Bois,  and 
on  the  25th  had  been  compelled  to  travel  all  night  to 
Albert.  The  position  changed  so  rapidly  in  this  area 
that  they  were  first  ordered  to  Montauban,  then  to  Carnoy. 
The  second  order  was  cancelled,  and  they  remained  by  the 
roadside.  On  the  26th  they  had  new  orders  to  take  up 
position  on  the  western  bank  of  the  river  Ancre,  in  front 
of  Aveluy,  and  they  were  in  line  by  6  a.m. 

To  the  north  lay  the  7th  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  had  crossed 
the  river  by  the  Authuile  bridge  and  were  holding  the 
eastern  edge  of  Aveluy  Wood.  From  the  high  ground 
they  could  see  the  Germans  moving  towards  Aveluy  at 
8  a.m.,  and  the  bridges  were  at  once  destroyed.  An  hour 
later,  troops  of  the  12th  Division  relieved  the  battalion, 
who  thereupon  withdrew  through  the  wood  to  Martinsart 
and  Engelbelmer. 

From  the  hollow,  where  the  9th  Battalion  lay,  the  enemy 
were  not  seen  until  midday,  when  they  were  observed 
advancing  over  the  high  ground  east  of  the  river.  During 
the  night  the  Germans  made  a  determined  attempt  to 
cross  the  Ancre  but  were  driven  off  by  Lewis  guns, 
machine  guns  and  rifles.  Farther  north  the  enemy 
succeeded  in  forcing  his  way  into  Mesnil  and  the  eastern 
edge  of  Aveluy  Wood.  To  the  south  Albert  was  lost.  At 
3  a.m.  on  March  27th  the  7th  Battalion  were  in  support 
to  an  attack  of  their  brigade  on  the  railway  west  of  Albert. 
The  Germans  were  prevented  debouching  from  the  town, 
and  the  battalion  were  moved  to  the  Bouzincourt- Aveluy 


250     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

road,  where  they  checked  the  enemy  advance  till  late  in 
the  evening,  when  they  were  relieved  and  left  the  line. 

In  this  sector,  March  27th  again  saw  heavy  righting. 
At  8  a.m.  the  Germans  renewed  their  attempts  to  force  a 
crossing,  but  were  again  driven  back  by  the  9th  Royal 
Fusiliers.  The  battalion  on  the  right  were  overwhelmed 
half  an  hour  later  and  were  closely  pursued  by  the  enemy. 
The  9th  Battalion,  with  their  right  in  the  air,  were  forced 
back.  A  platoon  under  Captain  Beaurains  held  on  until 
completely  surrounded,  and  then  fought  their  way  back 
to  the  high  ground  on  the  west  of  the  village.  D  Company 
attempted  to  deliver  a  counter-attack,  but  the  enemy 
machine-gun  fire  prevented  them  reaching  the  river.  At 
5  p.m.  the  Germans  resumed  their  attack  from  the  direc- 
tion of  Albert  ;  and,  the  right  flank  being  again  turned, 
the  battalion  fell  back  to  the  high  ground  in  front  of 
Martinsart  Wood,  where  a  line  was  organised  during  the 
night  with  the  5th  Royal  Berks  on  the  right.  To  the 
north  of  the  9th  Battalion,  the  enemy  had  attacked  in 
strength  with  such  success  that  the  5th  Brigade  were 
recalled,  and  the  24th  Royal  Fusiliers  took  over  positions 
in  close  support  along  the  northern  edge  of  Aveluy  Woodd 
On  the  28th  the  enemy  attacked  the  railway  embankment 
west  of  the  wood,  but  the  24th  Royal  Fusiliers  counter- 
attacked with  two  other  battalions  and  drove  them  back. 
The  right  of  the  9th  Battalion  was  once  more  attacked  at 
9  a.m.,  but  the  attack  was  beaten  off  with  loss.  On  the 
following  day  posts  were  established  in  the  southern  edge 
of  Aveluy  Wood  without  opposition  ;  but  an  attempt  to 
establish  a  Lewis  gun  post  down  the  forward  slope  was 
checked  by  machine-gun  fire.  The  9th  and  24th  Royal 
Fusilier  Battalions  on  this  front  were  relieved  on  the 
evening  of  this  day,  and  the  battle  began  to  die  down. 
The  17th  Battalion,  who  relieved  the  99th  Brigade,  were 
not  disturbed  in  Aveluy  Wood,  and  on  March  30th 
suffered  comparatively  little  in  the  German  bombardment. 

To  Amiens. — During  these  same  days,  while  the  oppos- 
ing forces  about  Aveluy  had  been  fighting  for  a  mile  or  two  of 


FIRST  BATTALION'S   RETIREMENT        251 

ground,  the  1st  Battalion  had  covered  a  distance  of  nearly 
seventeen  miles  as  the  crow  flies,  and  considerably  more 
as  an  army  marches.     They  were  the  last  troops  to  leave 
Chaulnes  on  March  26th,  and  they  did  not  retire  until 
the  Germans  were  pressing  round  their  left  flank.     They 
marched  back  to  Lihons,  crossed  the  Amiens  railway  and 
reached  Vrely,  where  they  lay  in  support  on  the  following 
day.     On  March  28th  they  fell  back  once  more  for  the 
same  reason  that  had  compelled  them  to  abandon  Chaulnes. 
Their  left  flank  was  in  the  air,  and  a  local  counter-attack 
with  the  3rd  Rifle  Brigade  could  not  do  more  than  inter- 
pose a  temporary  check.     They  continued  their  retire- 
ment through  Caix,  and  formed  a  covering  flank  towards 
the   north-east   for   a   French  counter-attack.     But   the 
Germans,  ever  pressing  onward,  were  once  more  round  the 
battalion's  flanks,  and  they  marched  back  to  Villers  aux 
Erables  and  thence  across  the  Avre  to  Castel  for  the  night. 
The  29th  found  them  on  outpost  positions  on  the  high 
ground  between  Castel  and  Hailles.     On  March  30th  a 
persistent  rain  fell  and  imposed  a  check  upon  the  enemy 
advance,  though  it  did  not  impede  the  gathering  of  the 
French,  who  were  now  arriving  in  great  numbers.     The 
position  even  on  this  part  of  the  front  was  approaching 
equilibrium.     Montdidier  had  fallen.     The  Germans  were 
established  across  the  Avre  and  before  Hangard  ;    but 
successes  gained  by  the  enemy  were  now  smaller,  more 
bitterly  contested,  and  more  dearly  bought.     At  3  p.m. 
on  the  following  day  the  1st  Battalion  were  ordered  out  to 
protect  the  Hailles  bridgehead.     A  few  days  later  they 
saw  service  in  the  Gentelles-Hangard  line,  but  the  tour 
was  without  incident. 

This  last  phrase  hardly  describes  the  projected  attack 
by  the  nth  Royal  Fusiliers  on  the  Aubercourt  ridge,  north- 
east of  Hangard,  on  the  evening  of  April  2nd.  They  were 
fired  on  from  the  front  and  the  rear  ;  and  the  enemy 
barrage  was  so  heavy  that  the  attack  was  abandoned. 
The  following  night  they  were  ordered  to  counter-attack, 
and  after  crossing  ploughed  fields  in  pouring  rain  by 


252     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

compass,  found  themselves  moving  towards  a  vast  gap. 

A  line  was  determined  upon,  and  word  was  sent  back  that 

at  least  another  battalion  would  be  required  to  fill  the  gap. 

The  Essex  were  sent  forward  and  the  position  cleared  up. 

Arras. — Meanwhile  an  attack  had  been  delivered  on  the 

northern  or  pivotal  flank  of  the  battle  front.     Decisively 

checked  in  this  quarter  at  the  beginning  of  his  offensive, 

the  enemy  on  March  28th  made  a  determined  effort  to 

obtain  greater  freedom  for  the  development  of  his  offensive 

by  a  blow  in  great  force  along  the  valley  of  the  Scarpe, 

though  the  attack  extended  as  far  south  as  Bucquoy. 

Three    first    line    battalions    of   the    Londons   and   the 

4th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  involved  in  this  heavy  battle. 

In  a  message  to  the  3rd  Division  on  March  30th,  Lieut. - 

General   Haldane,   commanding  the   VI.   Corps,   wrote  : 

'  The  repeated  efforts,  made  in  great  force  by  a  determined 

enemy,  to  break  through  the  left  of  the  Corps  where  the 

soldiers  of  the  3rd  Division  stood  were  repulsed  time  after 

time,  and  where  ground  had  to  be  yielded  to  maintain  an 

unbroken  line,  every  foot  was  contested  with  a  resolution 

which  can  hardly  have  been  surpassed  in  the  annals  of 

the  British  Army.     Had  the  3rd  Division,  much  weakened 

by  several  days  of  hard  fighting  and  nights  devoid  of  rest, 

not  maintained  an  unbroken  front  on  March  28th,  it  is 

difficult  to  believe  that  the  enemy  could  have  failed  to 

attain  his  objective — the  capture  of  Arras." 

The  4th  Royal  Fusiliers,  forming  part  of  this  division, 
had  left  the  front  line  on  March  27th,  but  at  9.40  a.m.  on 
the  following  day  X  Company  was  ordered  up  to  the  Green 
Line  to  occupy  the  position  vacated  by  Z  Company.  The 
9th  Brigade  lay  below  Neuville-Vitasse,  and  early  in  the 
battle  the  brigades  on  both  sides  had  been  driven  back. 
Z  Company  had  reached  the  support  line  of  the  first  system, 
only  to  find  it  already  gravely  prejudiced  and  under  a 
heavy  attack.  Captain  Lord,  M.C.,  accordingly  formed  a 
defensive  flank  for  the  brigade  with  the  company,  and, 
with  the  remainder  of  the  1st  Northumberland  Fusiliers 
and  the  13th  King's,  held  the  position  against  all  attacks 


GERMAN  ATTACK  AT  ARRAS,  MARCH  28th     253 

until  5  p.m.  The  line  being  no  longer  tenable,  they  suc- 
cessfully withdrew  through  the  Green  Line  which,  with 
Neuville-Vitasse,  now  became  the  front  line.  Before  the 
withdrawal  a  platoon  of  W  Company  had  been  sent  up  to 
strengthen  both  flanks  of  the  battalion. 

The  remaining  platoons  of  W  Company  were  sent  up  to 
the  left  flank  to  try  to  fill  the  gap  between  the  battalion 
and  the  76th  Brigade.  But  this  brigade  had  been  driven 
out  of  Neuville-Vitasse,  and  the  two  platoons  could  not 
gain  contact  with  them.  Z  Company  were  then  sent  up 
to  form  a  defensive  flank  west  of  the  village.  They  had 
been  heavily  engaged  all  day  and  had  steadily  covered  the 
withdrawal  through  the  Green  Line.  But  they  were  still 
able  to  perform  a  new  and  perilous  task.  Taking  up 
position  in  a  number  of  shell  holes,  they  successfully  closed 
the  gap  and  enabled  the  division  to  present  an  organised 
front  once  more.  During  the  March  fighting  the  battalion 
suffered  13  officers  and  193  other  ranks  casualties.  On 
March  29th  the  four  companies  were  in  the  line  and  head- 
quarters details  in  support.  But  the  attack  had  been 
definitely  checked,  and  on  this  sector  of  the  front  no 
further  appreciable  change  took  place. 

North  of  the  Scarpe,  where  the  three  London  battalions 
were  engaged,  the  plane  of  fighting  was  not  very  different. 
The  1/4  Londons,  who  bore  the  brunt  of  the  attack,  lay 
a  few  hundred  yards  west  of  Oppy.  The  main  defences 
of  the  forward  area  were  three  posts,  Oppy  Post  (north- 
west), Wood  Post  (facing  Oppy),  and  Beatty  Post  (south- 
east of  the  village) .  The  first  and  last  were  overwhelmed 
early  in  the  battle  ;  and  the  enemy  gained  a  footing  in  the 
positions  on  the  right  and  left  of  the  battalion.  Wood 
Post,  however,  held  out  for  about  an  hour.  The  prelimi- 
nary bombardment  had  caused  little  damage  and  no 
casualties  ;  and  the  small  garrison  of  2  officers  and  45 
other  ranks  inflicted  heavy  casualties  with  rifle  and  Lewis- 
gun  fire.  A  small  body  of  Germans  who  had  gained  a 
footing  in  the  trench  connecting  the  old  and  the  new  posts 
were  promptly  bombed  out.     When  Beatty  Post  fell  the 


254     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

enemy  attempted  to  get  round  Wood  Post  from  the  right. 
Attempts  to  get  round  the  left  were  repeatedly  checked, 
But  the  right  flank  was  more  vulnerable  ;  and  at  length, 
when  bombs  and  ammunition  were  almost  exhausted,  the 
survivors  of  the  garrison,  i  officer  and  15  other  ranks,  with- 
drew, covered  by  the  Lewis  guns.  Beatty  Post  had  been 
badly  damaged  by  the  German  trench  mortars,  and 
although  it  was  overwhelmed  by  the  attack  in  fifteen 
minutes,  the  garrison  had  first  inflicted  heavy  casualties 
on  the  enemy  as  they  advanced  in  great  density  through 
the  wire.  Only  1  officer  and  6  other  ranks  escaped  of  the 
3  officers  and  84  other  ranks  who  had  garrisoned  the  post. 
Oppy  Post  garrison  had  lost  heavily  in  the  preliminary 
bombardment  and  only  6  returned  of  the  original  50. 

The  resistance  of  Wood  Post  saved  the  Marquis  line 
astride  the  Ouse  valley  from  being  overwhelmed.  About 
9.30  a.m.,  after  it  had  fallen,  a  strong  body  of  the  enemy 
were  seen  working  up  Ouse  Trench  towards  the  forward 
battalion  headquarters.  Major  F.  A.  Phillips,  who  was 
in  charge  of  the  forward  area,  at  once  counter-attacked  over 
the  open  with  20  headquarters  details.  The  Germans  were 
pressed  back  and  a  block  established,  which  was  held  with 
grenades  by  a  party  under  Sergeant  Udall.  Second 
lieutenant  Hudson,  with  a  platoon  in  Marquis  Trench, 
formed  a  defensive  flank  and  held  his  positions  with  fine 
spirit.  Time  after  time  during  the  day  the  enemy  gained 
a  footing  in  the  line  but  was  immediately  thrown  out  ; 
and  the  defence  of  the  forward  line  undoubtedly  did  much 
to  stem  the  enemy  advance.  The  battalion  lost  236 
officers  and  men,  160  being  cut  off  in  the  disconnected 
fighting,  chiefly  at  the  three  posts.  But  this  action, 
probably  the  most  important  and  useful  fought  by  the 
battalion,  deserves  to  rank  high  among  the  fine  defensive 
battles  of  this  day. 

Bucquoy. — In  the  last  days  of  March  the  10th  and  13th 
Royal  Fusiliers  had  been  brought  down  from  the  Ypres 
area  and  had  reached  the  neighbourhood  of  Gommecourt. 
On  March  31st  the  13th  Battalion  went  into  the  front 


GERMAN  ATTACK,   APRIL  5th  255 

line  at  Bucquoy.  The  following  morning  the  Germans 
attempted  to  rush  the  bombing  posts  of  No.  2  Company. 
The  attacks  were  beaten  off,  and  Second  Lieutenant  J. 
Davis,  though  wounded,  stood  on  the  top  of  the  parapet 
and  continued  to  direct  the  bombers.  It  was  noticed  that 
during  these  days  the  enemy  exposed  themselves  very 
freely  and  provided  good  practice  for  the  snipers.  But  on 
April  5th  the  battalion  were  involved  in  a  very  determined 
attack  which  the  enemy  delivered  from  the  Somme  to 
some  distance  beyond  Bucquoy.  The  preliminary  bom- 
bardment at  5.30  a.m.  practically  obliterated  the  trench 
positions  of  Nos.  1  and  3  Companies.  At  8.45  strong 
bombing  attacks  were  made  on  Nos.  2  and  3  Companies, 
and  the  men  were  pressed  back  to  company  headquarters 
before  a  counter-attack  restored  the  position.  About  two 
hours  later  it  was  seen  that  other  battalions  had  not  been 
so  successful,  and  the  left  of  the  battalion  being  uncovered, 
the  order  was  given  to  retire.  Nos.  2  and  3  Companies 
fell  back  covered  by  No.  1  Company's  support  platoon 
under  Second  Lieutenant  G.  E.  Vickers.  The  flank  of 
No.  1  Company  being  uncovered  in  the  withdrawal,  they 
were  at  once  rushed,  and  a  desperate  fight  followed  at 
company  headquarters,  which  were  partially  blown  in, 
several  men  being  buried.  Before  the  company  could 
extricate  themselves  a  number  of  men  were  cut  off.  By 
2  p.m.  the  line  was  reorganised  with  parties  of  several 
other  battalions  and  of  the  trench  mortar  battery,  and  no 
attempt  was  made  to  press  the  attack  home.  A  great 
many  decorations  were  given  for  this  spirited  defence,  in- 
cluding the  D.S.O.  to  Lieut. -Colonel  H.  A.  Smith,  M.C., 
through  whose  skilful  handling  of  a  crumbling  position  the 
neighbouring  battalions  were  organised  into  an  effective 
fighting  force,  and  the  M.C.  to  Second  Lieutenant  J.  Davis. 
A  little  to  the  south  the  7th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  in- 
volved in  the  same  attack.  They  had  taken  over  the  front 
line  positions  near  Mesnil  from  the  24th  Royal  Fusiliers 
on  April  3rd,  when  Captain  (acting  Major)  P.  L.  E.  Walker, 
of  the  7th  Hussars,  had  taken  over  the  command  of  the 


256    ROYAL    FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

battalion.  The  preliminary  bombardment  had  cut  all 
communications,  and  at  10.30  a.m.  the  position  was 
already  critical.  The  great  loss  of  officers  led  to  some 
disorganisation,  and,  with  the  battalion  out  of  touch  on 
both  flanks,  the  men  were  overwhelmed.  The  Germans 
had  got  through  the  line  and  were  firing  upon  the  men 
from  the  rear.  Captain  Tealby  withdrew  his  men,  and  in 
the  new  positions  inflicted  heavy  casualties  on  the  enemy. 
Hand-to-hand  fighting  persisted  throughout  the  afternoon. 
At  dusk  the  right  of  the  position  was  taken  over  by  another 
battalion,  but  it  was  impossible  to  effect  contact  with 
the  troops  on  the  left,  and  in  the  gap  there  were  three 
enemy  patrols.  At  4.30  on  the  morning  of  April  6th 
further  attempts  were  made  to  get  into  touch  with  the 
Bedfords  on  the  left.  The  adjutant  and  three  men  at 
length  achieved  contact,  and  posted  a  Lewis-gun  team 
with  a  small  party  of  the  battalion  on  that  flank.  Major 
Walker  had  been  severely  wounded,  all  the  officers  were 
now  casualties  and  a  N.C.O.  took  charge.  A  counter- 
attack by  the  Royal  Marine  Light  Infantry,  in  which  the 
remainder  of  the  battalion  took  part,  recovered  much  of 
the  lost  ground,  and  by  2  p.m.  the  position  was  partly 
consolidated.  It  was  held  till  dusk,  despite  the  heavy 
barrage,  and  the  7th  Battalion  were  then  relieved.  They 
had  lost  12  officers  and  205  other  ranks  in  two  days  of 
most  bitter  fighting,  but  in  the  end  the  Germans  had  not 
appreciably  changed  the  position. 

The  area  of  the  Somme  offensive  bubbled  up  into  action 
at  various  points  for  some  little  time  yet.  But  the  worst 
was  over,  though  no  one  as  yet  knew  it,  and  the  centre  of 
interest  had  already  moved  northward  to  the  area  about 
the  Lys,  where  similar  startling  changes  swiftly  appeared 
to  wash  away  all  the  landmarks  which  three  and  a  half 
years'  occupation  had  established. 

The  Lys. — With  the  same  suddenness  that  the  offen- 
sive on  the  Somme  had  begun,  the  storm  broke  on  the  Lys. 
Almost  at  once  defences  which  had  the  prescriptive  right 
of  three  and  a  half  years'  tenure  were  swept  away,  and 


THE  BATTLE  OF  THE  LYS  257 

new  crises  appeared.  In  the  original  attack  no  Royal 
Fusilier  units  were  involved.  But  the  battle  had  not  been 
joined  long  before  the  2nd  and  4th  Battalions  were  both 
summoned  to  the  area.  During  the  Somme  offensive  the 
2nd  Battalion  had  been  engaged  on  the  Gravenstafel 
defence  line,  and  they  remained  in  the  Ypres  area  until 
the  Battle  of  the  Lys  began.  On  April  10th  they  arrived 
by  bus  at  Vieux  Berquin  at  6.30  a.m.  They  were  sent  in 
the  evening  to  occupy  positions  in  support  of  the  troops 
holding  Estaires,  but  at  4  a.m.  they  withdrew,  handing 
over  to  the  5th  Durham  Light  Infantry,  who  had  evacu- 
ated Estaires.  At  noon  they  took  over  the  defences  of 
Doulieu  with  three  companies.  In  a  few  hours  the  village 
was  the  centre  of  brisk  fighting,  and  the  support  company 
(Z)  had  to  be  sent  to  the  right  flank  position,  where  the 
Germans  were  making  headway  too  rapidly. 

As  the  day  wore  on  Doulieu  tended  to  become  the 
apex  of  a  small  salient,  but  the  men  held  on  until  2  a.m. 
of  the  12th,  when  they  were  ordered  to  retire.  They  fell 
back  about  two  miles,  and  at  9  a.m.  they  were  heavily 
attacked  in  an  isolated  position.  The  31st  Division, 
on  the  right,  had  retired  ;  and  the  battalion  fell  back 
gradually  to  the  village  of  Bleu,  which  was  held  by 
the  remnants  of  the  86th  and  87th  Brigades  until 
4  p.m.  The  British  line  had  now  begun  to  show  gaps 
under  the  continued  pressure  of  superior  forces,  and  the 
enemy  pushed  through  and  seized  Outtersterne  and 
Merris.  The  2nd  Battalion  fell  back  once  more  to  the 
Vieux  Berquin-Outtersterne  road  up  to  the  Farm  Labis, 
where  the  left  was  drawn  back  along  the  edge  of  a  wood. 
The  day  had  been  one  of  very  heavy  righting  on  positions 
which  could  not  be  maintained  in  face  of  the  forces  pitted 
against  them. 

The  Germans  attacked  heavily  early  in  the  morning  of 
the  13th,  but  were  held  up  by  the  left  post,  which  inflicted 
considerable  casualties  by  machine-gun  fire.  The  catching 
fire  of  an  ammunition  dump  on  the  right  front  of  the 
battalion  formed  a  useful  diversion  by  causing  confusion 


258    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

among  the  Germans  as  they  formed  up  in  its  vicinity.  But 
the  attack  developed  very  heavily  against  Vieux  Berquin 
on  the  right  of  the  battalion,  and  the  troops  holding  it 
were  driven  back.  The  support  troops  on  the  right  of  the 
2nd  Battalion  also  retired,  and  the  right  flank  was  then 
left  open.  At  nightfall  both  flanks  were  open,  Vieux 
Berquin  had  fallen,  and  the  Germans  had  passed  the  small 
island  of  troops  on  the  north  and  the  south.  The  batta- 
lion were  withdrawn  during  the  night,  and  on  the  14th 
arrived  at  Borre.  In  the  fifty-two  hours  they  had  spent 
in  the  Lys  battle  area  the  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  had  15 
officers  and  324  other  ranks  casualties.  They  were  true  to 
their  fate  in  finding  the  hottest  part  in  the  battlefield  ; 
but  their  steadfast  stand  had  played  no  small  part  in  gain- 
ing time  for  the  deployment  of  reinforcements.  Included 
in  the  casualties  were  Captain  H.  V.  Wells,  Lieutenant  L.  B. 
Solomon,  Second  Lieutenants  H.  Norwell,  N.  H.  Willett, 
H.  L.  Mepham,  G.  T.  S.  Rumball  and  F.  J.  A.  Wilson.  On 
April  15th  a  composite  brigade  was  formed,  the  2nd  Royal 
Fusiliers  forming  No.  1  Battalion,  two  other  battalions 
making  up  No.  2  Battalion,  of  the  87th  Brigade. 

Meanwhile  the  4th  Battalion  had  also  made  their 
appearance  in  this  area.  They  had  been  brought  up 
hurriedly  on  April  9th.  About  5  a.m.  on  the  10th  the 
battalion  took  up  position  from  the  La  Bass£e  Canal  to 
the  north-east  corner  of  Gorre  Wood,  coming  under  the 
orders  of  the  55th  Division  until  April  15th.  On  this 
sector  of  the  Lys  battleground  the  troops  had  offered  a 
most  stubborn  resistance.  The  front  of  the  166th  Brigade, 
to  which  the  4th  Battalion  were  attached,  was  dented 
several  times  at  Loisne,  not  a  mile  from  where  the  Royal 
Fusiliers  lay  ;  and  the  men  shared  every  bombardment 
which  was  aimed  at  the  troops  holding  the  line.  All  day 
on  the  10th  they  were  subjected  to  a  rain  of  5-9  shell.  On 
the  following  day  the  two  left  companies  experienced  a 
particularly  intense  bombardment  and  suffered  twenty- 
three  casualties.  Battle-tried  units  in  support  were 
relieved  on  the  13th,  and   on  the  night  of  the  14th  the 


FINE  DEFENCE  OF  THIRD   LONDONS     259 

4th  Battalion  took  over  the  left  sector  of  the  front  line. 
"  All  ranks  of  this  battalion  did  all  that  was  demanded  of 
them  in  a  soldierly  manner,"  wrote  Brig.-General  R.  J. 
Kentish,  of  the  166th  Infantry  Brigade,  on  handing  over 
the  sector  to  the  9th  Brigade,  to  which  the  4th  Battalion 
belonged. 

Villers  Bretonneux. — Local  attacks  continued  to  be 
made  at  various  parts  of  the  Somme  battle-front  during  the 
struggle  in  the  Lys  area,  but  the  engagement  that  took 
place  at  Villers  Bretonneux  on  April  24th  was  a  more 
serious  operation.  The  Fusilier  battalion  formed  from  the 
remnants  of  the  three  London  battalions  of  the  58th 
Division  had  been  disbanded  on  April  4th,  and  it  was 
three  battalions  who  made  their  appearance  in  the  Han- 
gard  area  in  the  third  week  of  April.  This  sector  of  the 
front  south  of  the  Somme  had  a  particular  attraction  for  the 
enemy,  for  it  covered  the  junction  of  the  British  and  French 
Armies.  On  April  23rd  A  Company  of  the  2/2  Londons 
wounded  and  took  prisoner  a  German,  who  gave  the  details 
of  the  attack  which  began  the  next  morning  at  three  o'clock 
near  Hangard  Wood  with  a  heavy  barrage  and  gas  bom- 
bardment. At  6  a.m.  the  infantry  attacks  began,  and 
the  3rd  Londons  *  south  of  the  Hangard  Wood  held 
their  line  all  day  in  spite  of  the  flanks  giving  way.  The 
2/4  Londons  did  not  fare  so  well.  The  first  attacks  were 
beaten  off  successfully,  but  when  the  attack  was  resumed 
with  tanks  in  the  afternoon,  the  left  flank  was  turned  and 
the  battalion  fell  back.  A  little  later  another  readjust- 
ment of  the  line  became  necessary ;  and  the  2/4th  took 
up  position  in  the  Cachy  Switch  Line,  east  of  the  village, 
continuing  in  a  line  of  shell  holes  near  the  Cachy- Hangard 
road.  They  had  given  way,  though  not  to  such  a  depth 
as  the  troops  further  north  at  Villers  Bretonneux  ;  and 
battalion  headquarters  did  not  move  the  whole  day  from 
the  quarry  east  of  Cachy.  But  their  losses  were  extremely 
heavy,  including  4  officers  and  203  other  ranks  missing. 

*  Lieut. -Colonel  Chart  was  awarded  the  D.S.O.  for  his  services  on 
this  occasion. 

s  2 


26o    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

The  3rd  Londons  were  still  in  line  when  the  counter-attack 
at  10  p.m.  on  the  24th  partly  restored  the  positions  of 
their  left  flank,  and  on  the  following  day  they  saw  a 
further  German  attack  broken  up  by  British  artillery. 
Both  battalions  were  relieved  on  this  day.  The  2/2 
Londons  were  not  engaged,  nor  were  the  nth  Royal 
Fusiliers,  who  were  in  support  to  the  58th  Division.  But 
the  3rd  and  the  2/4th  played  no  mean  part  in  an  action  in 
which  the  enemy  were  first  decisively  checked  in  the 
Somme  area,  and  then  pushed  out  of  their  momentary 
gains. 


XIV 


SALONIKA 


After  their  heavy  losses  at  Loos  the  3rd  Battalion  were 
withdrawn  from  the  line  for  a  brief  rest,  had  a  term  of 
trench  duty  near  Givenchy,  and  then  entrained  for  Mar- 
seilles. On  October  25th,  just  a  month  after  the  battle 
of  Loos,  they  embarked  for  Alexandria,  where  they 
remained  about  a  month.  By  December,  1915,  they  had 
reached  Salonika.  The  troops  found  little  to  occupy  them. 
For  the  first  six  months  they  were  in  the  standing  camp  at 
Salonika,  with  the  Bulgars  some  thirty  miles  away,  across 
the  frontier.  They  were  accommodated  for  some  time  in 
tents  and  dug-outs  in  a  small  depression  of  the  hills,  west 
of  the  Dehrbend  Pass.  The  Lembet  Plain  and  the  bay  to 
the  south  made  a  very  beautiful  vista,  and  on  a  good  day 
Mount  Olympus  looked  scarcely  ten  miles  away.  For  work 
the  battalion  had  to  turn  their  hand  to  the  construction 
of  observation  posts  for  the  artillery  and  also  to  road- 
making. 

One  or  two  air  raids  were  all  that  gave  a  touch  of  excite- 
ment to  life.  The  only  provision  against  aircraft  at  this 
time  was  a  few  18-pounder  guns  set  up  on  improvised 
carriages.  On  one  occasion  the  enemy  airmen  had  a 
great  success.  The  German  airmen  who  crossed  the  lines 
on  March  27th  just  after  dawn  dropped  a  bomb  on  the 
ammunition  dump,  which  contained  practically  the  whole 
reserve  stock.  There  was  a  tremendous  explosion,  and  a 
column  of  smoke  rose  high  in  the  air  and  spread  out  like 
a  mushroom. 

Another  break  in  the  monotony  was  the  four  days' 
brigade  trek  which  began  on  April  4th.  Its  real  object 
was  to  give  the  men  some  chance  of  stretching  their  legs. 


262     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT  WAR 

They  marched  in  shirt-sleeves,  but  without  helmets,  as 
these  had  not  yet  been  issued.  The  country  is  very  fine, 
but  the  brambles,  which  are  alive  with  tortoises,  made 
marching  the  reverse  of  comfortable.  Camp  fires  were 
allowed  at  night ;  and  with  a  flute,  two  drumsticks  and 
a  canteen  lid,  an  improvised  band  filled  the  air  with 
music.  Shortly  after  the  return  from  this  trek  the 
battalion,  being  among  the  troops  selected  to  represent 
the  British  infantry  at  the  presentation  of  the  G.C.M.G. 
to  General  Sarrail,  paraded  for  a  rehearsal.  In  the  midst 
of  this  a  wolf  galloped  across  the  front  of  the  troops.  Wild 
wolves  had  been  heard  of,  but  this  was  the  first  one  seen. 
On  May  3rd  the  battalion  started  on  an  eight  days' 
divisional  trek.  When  they  returned  numerous  kit 
inspections  were  held  in  anticipation  of  the  movement 
north  to  the  Struma.  The  hitherto  accepted  excuse  for 
the  loss  of  any  article — •"  Lost  at  Vermelles,  sir  !  " — had 
to  be  finally  abandoned. 

In  June  the  battalion  with  the  85th  Brigade  moved 
north  to  reinforce  the  22nd  Division  in  the  Vardar  Valley, 
and  as  the  aeroplanes  then  available  could  only  fly  between 
8  a.m.  and  4  p.m.,  the  troops  were  confined  to  those  hours 
for  marching.  They  had  got  as  far  as  Sarigeul,  on  the 
Salonika-Seres-Constantinople  railway,  when  they  were 
ordered  back  to  go  to  the  Struma  hills.  Marching  in 
the  hot  weather  was  an  almost  unendurable  strain,  and 
the  3rd  Battalion  have  an  imperishable  memory  of  Whit 
Monday's  march.  In  spite  of  a  long  midday  rest,  the  heat 
had  been  so  trying  that  many  men  fainted  on  getting  into 
camp.  When  the  men  reached  a  well  near  Orljak  Bridge 
there  was  almost  a  free  fight  for  water.  They  at  length 
reached  Tureka  and  camped  around  the  village.  Road- 
making  again  became  the  order  of  the  day.  The  Struma 
lay  a  mile  to  the  east,  and  in  the  dry  weather  it  seemed 
unbearably  inviting.  But  some  French  soldiers  had  been 
drowned,  and  bathing  was  forbidden.  This  order  was 
obeyed  until,  at  a  certain  spot,  cattle  were  seen  standing 
in  the  river  to  drink.     It  was  also  forbidden  to  cross  the 


LIFE  AT  SALONIKA  263 

Struma  ;  but  the  sight  of  some  wild  ducks  proved  too 
much,  and  some  shooting  took  place  in  which  the  sports- 
men did  not  trouble  about  a  kit. 

In  the  summer  malaria  began  to  make  inroads  on  the 
troops.  Drafts  reaching  the  country  seemed  to  be 
attacked  almost  immediately  on  arrival.  Yet,  in  spite 
of  this  scourge,  the  men  worked  well  at  the  arduous  occupa- 
tion of  roadmaking  ;  but  it  was  decided  to  move  camp, 
for  the  sake  of  health,  to  the  hills.  After  a  few  weeks' 
stay  there  the  Fusiliers  moved  via  Paprat  to  Petkovo, 
on  the  southern  crest  of  the  Krusha  Balkans  ;  and  the 
battalion  were  given  some  five  miles  to  prepare  for  defence 
on  the  right  of  the  French.  On  arrival  the  Petkovo 
Valley  was  full  of  cattle,  and  permission  was  asked  to 
drive  them  behind  the  lines.  This  was  refused,  and  the 
cattle  were  seized  later  by  the  Bulgars  !  The  minor 
operations  preparatory  to  the  entry  of  Rumania  into  the 
war  took  place,  but  they  were  eclipsed  by  the  advance 
of  the  enemy  armies  into  Greece.  One  morning 
(August  17th,  1 916)  the  Bulgarian  Army  was  seen  to  be 
moving  southward  through  the  Rupel  Pass.  They 
approached  the  Struma,  and  in  this  way  began  that  long 
series  of  minor  exchanges  which  lasted  till  the  end  of  the 
Salonika  campaign.  The  battalion  for  the  most  part  were 
merely  spectators,  being  almost  invariably  in  support. 
At  one  point  it  was  decided  to  clear  all  the  villages  to  our 
front,  and  the  inhabitants  were  evacuated  to  the  west. 
As  the  French  had  received  orders  to  evacuate  them  to  the 
east,  they  had  a  bad  time  until  this  matter  was  straigh- 
tened out.  It  was  a  strange  life  the  troops  led  in  these 
months.  A  sort  of  pigeon  English  had  been  invented  in 
order  to  communicate  with  the  local  inhabitants.  The 
exordium  was  generally  "  Hi,  boy  !  "  and  the  peroration 
"  Finish,  Johnny  " — brief,  clear  and  pointed. 

On  October  23rd  the  battalion  advanced  into  the  valley 
for  winter,  and  camped  at  Lositza.  The  Italians  had 
replaced  the  French  on  the  left  of  the  battalion,  and  the 
men  made  some  experiments  with  wine  bought  from  our 


264     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

allies.  The  Italians  appeared  to  be  always  singing,  but 
the  amount  of  work  they  got  through  was  wonderful. 
The  Fusiliers  were  really  startled  when  a  soldier  arrived  in 
camp  wounded  through  the  arm.  They  had  been  in  the 
Balkans  for  nearly  a  year,  and  this  was  their  first  casualty 
at  the  hands  of  the  enemy.  They  were  now  stationed  near 
the  issue  of  the  Butkova  River  from  the  lake,  and  the 
Bulgars  were  on  the  other  side.  The  mountain  battery 
used  to  water  and  wash  their  mules  in  the  river  until  the 
authorities  decided  to  stir  up  the  Bulgars.  A  patrol  of 
No.  4  Company  was  ordered  to  cross  the  river  by  a  pontoon. 
The  Bulgars  resisted,  and  Major  Burnett  Hitchcock,  who 
was  second  in  command,  was  wounded  ;  a  soldier  who  was 
also  wounded  died  on  the  way  to  the  ambulance. 

The  Butkova  Crossing.— On  November  24th,  1916, 
the  attempt  to  cross  the  river  was  renewed.  Two 
platoons  of  D  Company  with  two  canvas  pontoons  lay 
concealed  on  the  bank  opposite  the  creek.  It  was  heavy 
mist  that  morning,  and  the  mountain  battery  could  not 
open  fire  till  8.30.  The  boats  were  lowered  into  the  water  ; 
and  two  men,  already  stripped,  swam  across  under  heavy 
rifle  fire,  with  telephone  lines  attached  to  towing  ropes, 
covered  by  two  platoons  with  Lewis  guns.  The  boats 
were  pulled  across  by  means  of  these  ropes,  and  the  troops, 
moving  up  the  northern  bank  of  the  river,  occupied  two 
Bulgar  trenches.  Half  of  a  covering  platoon  crossed  with 
picks  and  shovels,  and  began  to  organise  the  position. 
Patrols  were  posted  in  the  adjacent  woods,  and  the  men 
remained  in  the  captured  positions  until  the  afternoon  of 
the  following  day.  At  6.0  that  morning  the  Bulgars 
counter-attacked,  and  in  the  mist  reached  the  wire. 
They  were  then  dispersed.  The  battalion  lost  three 
wounded  in  this  small  operation,  and  inflicted  15  casualties 
on  the  Bulgars.  One  of  the  latter  was  taken  prisoner, 
and  the  Fusiliers  recrossed  the  river  after  securing  the 
information  they  had  set  out  to  obtain.  Another  similar 
raid  took  place  on  November  28th. 

In  January,  1917,  the  battalion  crossed  the  Struma  and 


ACTION   OF  MAY   15TH  265 

moved  into  trenches  near  Barakli-Djuma,  where  they 
remained  until  May  17th.  Their  sector  of  trenches  lay 
about  a  third  of  a  mile  west  and  north-west  of  Barakli- 
Djuma.  During  their  first  ten  days  in  the  trenches, 
which  were  now  close  up  to  the  Bulgar  positions,  they  were 
shelled  at  intervals  throughout  the  day.  In  February 
malaria  began  to  make  inroads  on  the  unit.  Forty-five 
cases  were  treated,  and  1  officer  and  12  other  ranks  were 
evacuated  to  hospital.  It  was  not  a  good  preparation  for 
active  operations  ;  and  their  role  in  the  readjustments 
preparatory  to  the  April  offensive  was  to  prevent  the 
Bulgars  moving  their  troops  to  the  Doiran  sector,  where 
the  army  was  to  attack.  This  was  achieved  by  a  demon- 
stration on  March  2nd,  when  the  battalion  suffered  five 
casualties.  During  this  month  98  men  were  detained 
with  malaria,  and  58  were  evacuated  to  the  field  hospital ; 
and  in  April  the  number  sent  to  hospital  had  increased  to 
80,  including  1  officer. 

On  May  15th  Major  Villiers-Stuart,  who  had  been  in 
command  of  the  battalion  since  August  1st,  1916,  was 
appointed  to  command  the  7th  Oxford  and  Bucks  L.I. 
He  was  succeeded  by  Lieut. -Colonel  E.  M.  Baker,  who  had 
charge  of  the  operations  against  the  Ferdie  outpost  sector. 
The  spring  campaigning  season  was  almost  at  an  end.  The 
growing  number  of  malaria  cases  proved  that  the  troops 
must  be  moved  to  the  hills  if  they  were  to  be  retained  as 
effective  soldiers  ;  but  the  enemy  were  in  a  position  to 
hamper  the  withdrawal,  and  accordingly,  in  order  to  mis- 
lead the  Bulgars,  an  attack  was  made  against  the  trench 
system  guarding  the  approach  to  Spatovo,  the  sentinel 
of  the  Rupel  Pass.  The  battalion  were  assembled  at 
6.15  p.m.  on  the  night  of  the  15th.  In  ten  minutes'  time 
the  bombardment  began,  and  five  minutes  later  the 
Fusiliers  advanced,  No.  4  Company  being  on  the  right  and 
No.  3  on  the  left.  Under  cover  of  the  barrage,  the  men 
reached  the  enemy  wire,  passed  through  where  it  had  been 
cut  in  the  preliminary  bombardment,  and  occupied  the 
front  trenches  with  little  opposition.     No.  4  Company 


266     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

captured  five  men  and  one  machine  gun.  In  half  an 
hour  the  troops  had  secured  these  successes,  reorganised 
and  resumed  their  advance.  Further  trenches  were 
secured,  and  more  prisoners  ;  and  at  7.20,  covering  parties 
having  been  put  out  150  yards  in  front  of  the  advanced 
positions,  wiring  and  consolidation  began.  Two  small 
attacks  were  made  on  these  trenches  at  9.45  p.m.  and 
midnight,  but  they  were  broken  up  by  Lewis-gun  and  rifle 
fire.  Two  hours  later  a  more  determined  counter-attack, 
supported  by  artillery,  machine  guns  and  a  trench  mortar, 
was  made  upon  the  right.  The  Bulgars  on  this  occasion 
fought  their  way  to  the  wire,  but  were  then  driven  off 
by  Lewis-gun  and  rifle  fire,  leaving  nine  dead.  In  the 
morning  the  enemy  guns  were  found  to  be  registering  on 
the  new  British  positions,  and  at  3  p.m.  in  the  afternoon 
officer  patrols  made  reconnaissances  of  the  ground  in  front 
of  the  new  line.  The  next  group  of  trenches  was  found 
to  be  evacuated.  From  the  beginning  of  these  operations 
57  unwounded  men  and  2  wounded  prisoners  had  been 
captured,  as  against  a  total  battalion  casualty  list  of  40. 
Captain  J.  E.  French  and  Lieutenant  R.  L.  G.  May  and 
2  other  officers  were  wounded,  and  3  other  ranks 
were  killed. 

On  May  17th  another  strong  patrol  was  sent  forward. 
A  bombing  encounter  followed,  and  the  Fusiliers  retired 
in  face  of  superior  numbers,  having  lost  4  other  ranks 
killed  and  18  wounded.  The  new  positions  were  now 
finally  consolidated  ;  and  on  May  26th  the  battalion  were 
relieved,  and  marched  back  to  Orljak,  west  of  the  Struma. 
On  June  8th  they  relieved  the  5th  Connaught  Rangers  on 
the  Elisan-Dolap  fine,  south  and  slightly  east  of  Barakli- 
Djuma,  and  were  employed  on  dismantling  the  outpost 
line.  This  was  actually  evacuated  on  the  13th,  and  the 
battalion  marched  to  Tureka.  The  malaria  cases  increased 
during  the  next  few  months,  and  in  September  they  had 
reached  the  heavy  total  of  159. 

During  October  the  troops  were  moved  once  more  to  the 
lower  ground  from  which  they  had  been  withdrawn  in 


THE  STRUMA  CROSSED,   OCTOBER,   1917    267 

May.  The  battalion  crossed  the  Struma  and  occupied 
Yenikoi  on  the  13th,  and  on  the  21st  Tupolova.  But  in 
this  case  the  Fusiliers  had  to  fall  back  in  front  of  superior 
forces.  This  village  lies  near  the  Salonika-Constantinople 
railway,  and  on  the  26th  a  patrol  reached  Kalendra,  south- 
east of  Tupolova.  On  November  1st  Captain  Woolfe  led 
a  patrol  into  Kalendra  again,  and  on  this  occasion  encoun- 
tered a  strong  Bulgar  party.  The  Fusiliers  had  to  retire 
after  a  brisk  exchange,  in  which  they  lost  one  killed. 
Three  days  later  an  observation  post  at  the  Belica  brook, 
which  runs  for  some  distance  west  of,  and  roughly  parallel 
to,  the  railway,  was  cut  off.  Seven  men  were  lost  in  this 
mishap  ;  but  one,  though  wounded,  made  his  way  back 
to  the  line  through  another  brigade.  A  third  raid  was 
made  on  Kalendra  on  December  5th.  This  time  the 
village  was  found  to  be  unoccupied  ;  but  a  Bulgar  patrol 
was  encountered  as  the  Fusiliers  were  leaving,  and  two 
prisoners  (wounded)  were  taken.  These  local  raids  were 
the  order  of  the  day  of  many  months  yet,  before  the 
troops  were  ready  for  major  operations. 

A  memorable  event  in  the  new  year  was  the  inspection 
of  the  battalion  by  the  King  of  Greece  on  February  9th, 
1918.  On  May  nth  Lieutenant  F.  Parker  and  Lieutenant 
A.  F.  Balding,  with  a  patrol  of  30  other  ranks,  went  out  to 
Cakli  station  to  intercept  a  Bulgar  patrol.  The  station 
was  found  to  be  occupied  by  between  40  and  50  Bulgars. 
In  the  fighting  which  ensued  Lieutenant  Parker  was 
wounded,  and  two  scouts  were  cut  off.  On  his  return  to 
the  line  Lieutenant  Balding  had  his  party  made  up  to 
50  strong,  and  a  search  was  made  for  the  missing  scouts, 
but  without  success. 

This  was  the  last  engagement  of  the  3rd  Battalion  in  the 
Balkans.  The  unhealthy  season  was  approaching  again, 
and  the  advanced  outpost  line  was  being  dismantled  once 
more  preparatory  to  a  withdrawal  to  the  higher  ground. 
On  June  1st  the  withdrawal  to  the  summer  positions  was 
carried  out.  But  by  this  time  the  Germans  had  seriously 
weakened  our  army  in  France  by  the  March-April  often- 


268    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

sive,  and  the  British  battalions  abroad  were,  as  far  as 
possible,  being  quietly  sent  to  France.  The  3rd  Battalion 
were  soon  under  orders.  On  July  3rd  they  embarked  on 
the  French  transport  Timgrad  for  Taranto,  which  they 
reached  on  the  following  day.  At  6.30  p.m.  of  the  same 
day  they  entrained  for  Sergueux,  France,  travelling  by  the 
east  coast  route,  Bari,  Foggia,  and  so  on  along  the  Riviera 
to  Cannes.  There  on  July  8th  they  bathed  in  the  sea, 
and  entraining  later  in  the  day,  reached  Sergueux  at 
6.30  p.m.  on  the  9th.  They  had  been  absent  almost  three 
years  in  a  theatre  where  the  worst  enemy  was  disease. 


CHAPTER  XV 


EAST  AFRICA 


The  25th  Royal  Fusiliers  arrived  at  Mombasa,  in  British 
East  Africa,  on  May  6th,  1915,  and  went  at  once  to  the 
military  post,  Kajiado,  on  the  Uganda  railway.  Half  of 
the  battalion  then  went  to  Nairobi,  the  capital  of  the 
colony,  for  two  months'  training  ;  and  the  other  half,  split 
up  into  small  bodies,  was  dotted  about  as  outposts.  Their 
work  was  the  protection  of  the  railway  line  from  raiding 
parties,  and  up  to  the  end  of  the  year  it  never  ceased  to  be 
necessary. 

Bukoba. — On  June  19th  this  part  of  the  battalion  was 
assembled  and  moved  to  the  Victoria  Nyanza  in  pre- 
paration for  a  raid  on  Bukoba,  on  the  south-western  shores. 
The  boundary  between  British  and  German  East  Africa 
cut  the  lake  into  two  parts  ;  and  Bukoba,  lying  within 
German  territory,  was  the  centre  of  all  the  raiding  activity 
on  the  Uganda  frontier.  With  ample  stores  and  a  power- 
ful wireless  installation,  it  was  an  important  base  of 
German  activity.  About  400  strong,  the  detachment  of 
the  25th  Battalion  detrained  at  Kisumu,  the  terminus  of 
the  Uganda  railway,  and  on  the  22nd  sailed  across  the 
lake  with  the  rest  of  the  small  force.  At  sundown  on  the 
second  day  Bukoba  was  sighted,  and  a  night  attack  was 
planned.  Three  Fusiliers  were  to  have  overpowered  a 
sentry  at  the  landing  place.  But  when  at  midnight  the 
ships  drew  in,  a  sudden  burst  of  rockets  showed  that  all 
hope  of  a  surprise  was  out  of  the  question,  and  the  ships 
drew  off  and  waited  for  the  dawn. 

The  main  attack  was  made  from  the  north  ;  and  the 
troops  landing  there  found  themselves  faced  with  the  task 
of  climbing  a  steep,  cliff-like  incline.     It  was  fortunate 


270    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

that  no  opposition  was  attempted  at  this  point.  But  a 
vigorous  resistance  was  encountered  when  the  battalion 
attempted  to  cross  the  rocky  ground,  at  the  southern  foot 
of  the  hill,  towards  Bukoba.  The  black  powder  used  by 
the  Germans  made  the  smoke-puffs  clearly  defined,  and 
outlined  their  position.  But  it  was  late  afternoon  before 
it  could  be  cleared,  and  then  the  weary  men  summoned 
their  last  resources  of  energy  and  charged  up  the  opposite 
slope,  from  which  the  town  was  commanded.  The  sudden 
darkness  gave  the  enemy  a  respite,  and  at  the  same  time 
added  a  further  burden  to  the  troops,  who  slept  as  they 
could  without  food. 

During  the  final  advance  on  the  following  day  a  heavy 
thunderstorm  imposed  another  pause  on  the  operations  ; 
and  when  the  battle  was  resumed  it  was  a  body  of  men 
soaked  to  the  skin,  and  with  rifles  out  of  action  through  the 
downpour  and  the  mud,  who  broke  down  the  last  resistance 
and  entered  Bukoba.  The  wireless  installation  was  blown 
up,  ammunition  and  stores  destroyed  ;  and  at  sundown 
on  the  24th  the  men  re-embarked  and  returned  to  Kisumu. 
It  was  one  of  the  few  incidents  which  were  wholly  satis- 
factory during  the  campaign. 

Patrols. — The  patrol  work  was  nervous  and  respon- 
sible. The  Germans  were  full  of  initiative,  and  did  not 
hesitate  to  take  risks  where  the  objective  seemed  to 
justify  it ;  and  in  these  vast  spaces  a  small  force  might 
move  for  days  without  notice.  In  August,  1915,  the 
battalion  had  their  headquarters  at  Voi,  in  the  eastern 
part  of  British  East  Africa,  about  fifty-five  miles  north  of 
the  frontier.  Two  companies  lay  at  Maktau,  to  the  west, 
much  nearer  the  frontier  ;  and  about  half  a  company  were 
operating  along  the  coast.  A  small  body  of  mounted 
infantry  had  been  got  together  at  Maktau,  and  about  50 
of  the  battalion  were  lent  to  them.  On  September  3rd 
a  party  of  the  unit  marched  into  an  ambush,  the  inevitable 
accompaniment  of  warfare  in  such  a  country,  and  the 
Germans  closed  in  on  the  little  band.  Lieutenant  Wilbur 
Dartnell,  of  the  25th  Battalion,  was  wounded  in  the  leg, 


LIEUT.   DARTNELL'S  HEROISM  271 

and  was  being  carried  away  when  he  noticed  the  serious- 
ness of  the  situation.  The  badly  wounded  could  not  all 
be  removed  ;  and,  knowing  that  the  black  troops  mur- 
dered the  wounded,  he  insisted  on  being  left  in  the  hope 
of  saving  the  others.  He  was  twice  asked  to  leave,  and 
at  length  directly  ordered  that  the  men  should  abandon 
him.  When  he  was  last  seen  the  Germans  were  within 
twenty-five  yards  of  his  post.  He  fought  to  the  end  in 
defence  of  his  fellows,  and  WctS  awarded  a  well-merited  post- 
humous V. C .  He  had  only  1  with  the  mounted  infantry 
two  days,  and  it  was  but  tw  iys  before  the  enemy  party 
was  itself  ambushed  and  left  31  dead  on  the  field. 

Advance  to  Kahe. — So  the  year  wore  on  to  the  close. 
The  Fusiliers  covered  the  extension  of  the  line  from 
Maktau  towards  the  German  frontier,  and  kept  the  area 
of  their  activity  in  a  reasonable  state  of  security.  Troops 
arrived  from  South  Africa  in  January,  1916,  and  on 
March  5th  450  officers  and  men  of  the  battalion  joined 
General  Stewart's  column,  which  was  to  move  round  the 
west  of  Kilimanjaro,  while  van  Deventer  marched  to 
meet  it  at  the  German  town  oi  Moschi.  After  a  long  and 
wearisome  march,  fortunately  little  molested  by  the 
enemy,  the  troops  arrived  in  the  rear  of  the  German 
positions  and  marched  into  Moschi,  which  had  already 
been  taken.  After  three  days'  rest  the  battalion  moved 
southward  to  take  part  in  the  operations  against  Kahe. 
About  5  p.m.  on  March  2,  h  a  brisk  engagement  deve- 
loped. After  a  hot  and  trying  march  the  men  were  having 
a  bathe  near  Store  when  suddenly  shots  were  opened  on 
them.  One  of  them  bolted  as  he  was,  and  encountering 
the  general  and  the  colonel  in  a  condition  which  hardly 
made  for  dignity,  was  forced  to  give  a  report  of  the  situa- 
tion. The  firing  suddenly  died  down,  but  three  hours 
later  the  enemy  advanced  in  force.  Twenty  times  they 
charged  and  almost  forced  their  way  into  the  entrenched 
line,  but  at  length  they  were  beaten  off  with  heavy  loss. 

On  the  following  day  another  action  was  fought  a  few 
miles  away  at  the  Soko  Nassai  River.     The  enemy  were 


272     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT   WAR 

entrenched  at  the  defile  where  the  river  joins  the  Defu  ; 
and  the  Germans  fought  not  only  gallantly,  but  skilfully. 
The  machine  guns  were  excellently  placed  and  well  served, 
and  the  battle  ranged  from  early  morning  to  nightfall. 
The  Germans  moved  off  under  cover  of  darkness.  Van 
Deventer,  who  had  taken  Moschi,  had  now  captured 
Kahe  station,  and  nothing  remained  for  the  enemy  but 
retreat. 

To  Handeni. — After  a  short  rest  the  Fusiliers  again 
moved  ahead,  marching  southward  to  the  east  of  the 
Pangani  River,  while  other  columns  marched  along  the 
railway  line,  and  so  cleared  the  richest,  healthiest,  and 
most  populous  part  of  the  German  colony.  The  route 
of  the  battalion  literally  involved  "  hacking  through." 
The  bush  was  so  thick  that  small  parties  had  to  be  sent 
ahead  to  clear  away.  Progress  under  such  conditions 
was  neither  rapid  nor  pleasant  but,  as  speed  was  necessary 
for  the  success  of  General  Smuts'  plan,  the  battalion 
frequently  trekked  all  night.  They  became  so  weary  at 
times  that  they  marched  like  automata,  practically 
asleep.  A  sudden  halt  had  much  the  same  effect  as  the 
checking  of  an  express  train.  Food  began  to  be  short, 
owing  to  transport  difficulties.  The  fearful  monotony 
of  it  sank  into  insignificance. 

On  the  last  day  of  May,  1916,  they  reached  Buiko, 
where  the  Pangani  runs  south  some  miles  towards  Han- 
deni, after  a  trek  of  145  miles  in  thirteen  days.  The  main 
body  of  the  enemy  had  passed  through  the  village,  and 
on  June  9th  the  British  column  started  once  more.  They 
now  left  the  railway  which  the  Pangani  meets  at  Buiko, 
and  marched  south  for  the  Central  railway.  On  the  15th 
they  left  the  river  and  followed  the  trolley  line.  The 
following  day  they  were  at  Gitu,  to  the  north-west,  and 
on  the  17th  arrived  at  Ssangeni,  west  of  Handeni,  on  the 
great  caravan  road. 

Kwa  Direma. — On  June  22nd  the  column  started  south 
once  more.  Smuts'  plan  aimed  at  cutting  off  the  enemy, 
as  had  been  done  in  South- West  Africa,  by  the  operation 


BATTLE  OF   KWA  DIREMA,   JUNE  24TH  273 

of  a  number  of  swiftly  moving  columns.  The  alternative 
to  envelopment  was  withdrawal,  but  the  consummate 
skill  with  which  the  German  commander  put  off  his  retire- 
ment to  the  last  possible  moment  and  compelled  the  British 
to  suffer  every  disadvantage  of  operating  in  such  a  country 
dragged  on  the  campaign  to  the  end  of  the  war.  The  Ger- 
mans were  first  to  be  denied  the  use  of  the  Central  railway, 


Sketch  Map  of  German  East  Africa. 

The  faint  dotted  line  shows  the  route  of  the  25th  Royal 
Fusiliers  to  the  Rufigi. 

and  the  Fusiliers  formed  part  of  one  of  the  columns 
destined  to  cut  this  artery.  On  the  24th,  after  a  practi- 
cally continuous  march  of  over  twenty-four  hours,  they 
went  into  battle  at  Kwa  Direma,  on  the  Lukigura.  They 
attacked  at  4.30  p.m. 

Utter  weariness  made  them  intolerant  of  opposition ; 
and  before  dark  they  stormed  the  position,  Major 
White  leading  A  and  D  Companies  in  a  fierce  bayonet 


274     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

charge.  Among  the  captures  were  a  i-inch  Krupp  gun 
and  three  machine  guns.  The  enemy  were  posted  so  as 
to  command  a  bridge  across  the  river,  and  were  taken  by- 
surprise.  They  had  barely  time  to  redirect  the  guns  ;  and 
Colonel  Driscoll,  seeing  that  delay  was  dangerous,  obtained 
permission  to  rush  the  position.  The  battle  was  over  in 
less  than  half  an  hour  ;  and,  despite  the  hail  of  bullets 
which  tore  the  trees  and  shrubs  to  pieces,  the  battalion 
only  lost  3  killed  and  18  wounded.  The  Askari,  who 
fought  with  such  remarkable  courage,  were  unable  to 
stand  the  bayonet,  and  they  lost  25  killed  and  28  wounded. 
Three  whites  were  also  killed,  and  13  wounded.  The 
battalion  were  warmly  congratulated  by  the  general,  and 
their  spirit  after  such  a  march  was  indeed  wonderful. 
Some  days  were  spent  at  Kwa  Direma,  where  mails  were 
received,  an  infrequent  occurrence. 

On  July  7th  the  battalion  moved  south  to  Makindu,  on 
the  edge  of  the  Ngura  hills,  and  rested  there  for  a  month. 
The  rest  was  very  welcome,  for  this  splendid  body  of  men, 
who,  number  for  number,  could  hardly  have  been  sur- 
passed for  physique  in  any  army,  had  dwindled  from 
nearly  1,200  to  less  than  200.  Long  marches  on  rations 
which  were  intolerably  monotonous  and  short,  and  with 
malaria  almost  invariably  lurking  ready  to  seize  its 
victims,  had  taken  their  toll.  At  Makindu  the  enemy  lay 
near,  and  the  Fusiliers  were  shelled  almost  immediately 
on  arrival  with  guns  removed  from  the  Konigsberg.  But 
for  the  most  part  their  stay  there  was  restful,  and  some 
six-months-old  letters  marked  a  welcome  break  in  the 
operations.  On  August  9th  the  Fusiliers  assisted  in 
clearing  the  Ruhungu  position,  a  region  of  hill  and  bush 
country,  of  the  enemy,  who  had  turned  it  into  a  strong- 
hold. Lying  on  the  left  rear,  it  threatened  the  communica- 
tions, and  the  time  had  come  to  resume  the  advance. 

To  the  Railway. — Every  bridge  had  been  blown  up 
on  the  line  of  advance,  and  weary  nights  were  spent  in  re- 
constructing them.  The  battalion  marched  by  Turiani 
and  Dakawa,  on  the  Wami  River,  and  then  turned  east- 


HALT  AT   KISSAKI,   AUTUMN,   1916        275 

ward  to  cut  the  railway  on  the  flank  of  Morogoro.  This 
was  achieved  on  August  28th,  and  within  a  week  the 
eastern  terminus  at  Dar-es-Salaam  had  also  fallen.  Moro- 
goro was  some  350  miles  from  the  point  of  departure  of 
the  battalion  ;  but,  though  the  railway  was  soon  com- 
pletely in  allied  hands,  the  enemy  still  remained  at  large. 
They  had  escaped  by  an  unknown  road  through  the  hills, 
and  the  advance  had  to  be  continued. 

Kissaki. — On  August  31st  the  battalion  marched  south 
once  more  in  the  central  of  the  three  columns  operating  in 
the  Uluguru  area.  They  moved  by  a  "  zigzag,  well- 
engineered  road  cut  out  of  the  steep  hillsides  in  pre-war 
days  at  the  expense  of  gigantic  labour."  *  This  was  the 
unknown  road  by  which  the  Germans  had  escaped.  The 
scenery  through  which  the  men  were  now  moving  was  very 
beautiful,  but  the  conditions  of  the  march  were  even  more 
trying.  On  one  day  no  rations  at  all  were  received,  and 
the  strain  of  long  marching  in  blazing  sun  on  insufficient 
food  provided  a  heavy  ambulance  population.  Some 
days  5,  sometimes  even  10,  per  cent,  of  these  hard-bitten 
troops  collapsed  and  had  to  be  carried  back.  At  Magali 
on  September  5th  the  troops  had  the  satisfaction  of  de- 
stroying the  elaborate  observation  post  from  which  the 
naval  guns  had  been  directed,  and  three  days  later  had  a 
small  skirmish  at  Mwuha.  Tulo  was  found  deserted,  with 
every  appearance  of  disorder.  The  battalion  had  a  few 
days'  rest  here,  and  some  of  the  huntsmen  filled  up  the 
larder  for  the  moment.  But  the  columns  had  outmarched 
the  commissariat,  and  weary  months  of  delay  followed. 
On  September  30th  the  Fusiliers  moved  to  Kissaki,  on  the 
Mgeta  River,  there  to  remain  for  about  three  months. 

Behobeho. — Despite  the  hardship  of  marching  under 
such  conditions,  the  battalion  were  consumed  with  impa- 
tience at  the  delay,  and  the  only  relief  was  elephant  hunt- 
ing. At  this  time  the  battalion  had  dwindled  to  about 
60  before  reinforcements  arrived.     Selous,  returning  on 

*  "  Three  Years  of  War  in  East  Africa,"  by  Captain  Angus  Buchanan, 
M.C.,  p.  127. 

T  2 


276     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

December  16th  from  England,  where  he  had  been  invalided, 
brought  150  of  these  with  him.  He  was  sixty-five  years 
of  age  at  this  time,  and  this  return  to  the  front  after  an 
enforced  absence  through  sickness  stands  out  as  remark- 
able even  in  a  remarkable  man.  Its  effect  on  the  Fusiliers 
was  very  noticeable. 

Checked  by  the  weakness  in  the  ever-lengthening  line 
of  communications,  the  column  was  now  immobilised  in 
December  by  heavy  rains.  On  January  1st,  1917,  the 
Fusiliers  took  part  in  the  attack  on  the  Mgeta  position, 
which  in  the  end  was  almost  surrounded.  About  mid- 
night on  January  2nd  the  battalion  halted  below  Wiransi, 
only  to  find  that  their  resting-place  was  an  encampment 
of  fighting  ants.  It  is  a  striking  testimony  to  the  men's 
weariness  that,  after  much  swearing,  they  dropped  off  to 
sleep  in  the  midst  of  their  enemies.  In  this  part  of  the 
march  the  Fusiliers  had  been  sent  out  to  the  west  of  the 
main  advance,  and  before  dawn  on  January  4th  they 
turned  eastwards  towards  Behobeho  to  cut  off  fugitives 
from  the  main  column.  Very  few  were  encountered,  and 
the  battalion  marched  to  a  ridge  north  of  the  settlement. 
The  reflection  of  the  sun  from  the  white  gravel  proved  a 
terrible  experience  even  for  men  who  had  long  experience 
of  tropical  suns,  and  sniping  from  the  adjacent  trees 
made  the  position  costly.  It  was  while  commanding  his 
company  in  attack  on  this  occasion  that  Selous  was  killed. 
He  was  a  striking  figure,  and  his  loss  was  felt.  The  enemy 
were  well  entrenched,  and  when  Selous  fell  Lieutenant 
Dutch  took  over  the  command  of  the  company,  and, 
though  soon  riddled  with  bullets,  continued  to  direct  the 
attack  while  being  attended  to.  He  was  carried  back  to 
Dakawa,  and  died  two  days  later. 

The  position  was  taken.  Behobeho  was  occupied,  and 
the  bank  of  the  Rufigi.  But  the  rains  were  at  hand.  The 
battalion  were  marched  back  to  Morogoro,  and  then  went 
to  the  Cape  for  three  months'  rest.  On  May  12th,  1917, 
this  very  welcome  break  came  to  an  end,  and  the  battalion 
left  Cape  Town  en  route  for  Lindi.     When  the  battalion 


BATTLE  OF  ZIWANI,   JUNE  iith,   1917    277 

had  left  German  East  Africa,  the  enemy  had  been  driven 
into  the  unhealthy  region  south  of  the  Rufigi.  They  were 
now  to  be  driven  from  the  country  altogether.  In  the 
strategy  of  converging  columns,  which  had  proved  itself 
successful,  the  last  phase  of  the  fighting  would  take  place 
in  the  south-eastern  part  of  the  colony.  Columns  were 
striking  from  the  Rufigi  and  from  Kilwa,  and  the  Fusiliers 
formed  part  of  the  Lindi  column  operating  near  the  Portu- 
guese frontier. 

Ziwani . — Lindi  was  reached  at  the  beginning  of  June,  and 
on  the  night  of  the  10th  the  battalion, with  three  machine 
guns,  were  placed  in  two  lighters  and  towed  eight  miles 
up  a  creek  to  the  head  of  the  delta  by  motor  launch.  "  We 
landed  in  a  swamp  past  the  enemy's  lines  and  made  our 
way  inland.  By  7.30  a.m.  we  had  covered  about  twelve 
miles  of  ground,  and  came  up  behind  and  against  their 
main  position  in  dense  bush  and  bush-covered  valleys  and 
ridges ;  somewhere  inside  of  all  this  they  had  a  4-inch  naval 
gun  with  which  they  used  to  bombard  the  town.  They 
knew  we  had  landed,  as  shots  had  been  exchanged  with 
their  scouts  in  the  darkness.  The  path  we  followed  led 
into  a  swamp  belt  in  the  valley  between  us  and  the  enemy, 
and  from  various  hidden  places  on  the  enemy's  ridge 
machine  guns  and  rifles  opened  fire  on  our  advance  guard. 
We  immediately  took  up  a  position  in  the  bush  with  our 
main  body  and  called  in  the  advance  guard.  Meanwhile 
they  kept  up  continuous  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire,  and 
we  sustained  a  few  casualties,  but  did  not  fire  a  single  shot 
in  return.  In  about  two  hours  they  were  all  round,  and 
still  our  men  lay  low  and  silent.  About  noon  they  started 
a  terrific  fusillade  from  all  round  ;  and  on  one  flank  three 
machine  guns  and  a  considerable  force  crept  up  within 
thirty  paces,  under  cover  of  the  bush,  and  opened  a 
terrific  fire.  Our  three  machine  guns  moved  at  once  to 
that  side,  and  engaged  them  at  close  quarters,  twenty-five 
to  thirty  paces,  putting  one  of  theirs  out  of  action  imme- 
diately. For  an  hour  the  noise  of  firing  was  deafening. 
Then,  having  reinforced  the  company  nearest  to  the  main 


278     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

attack,  we  made  a  bayonet  charge  through  the  bush, 
which  caused  them  to  retire,  and  we  captured  the  three 
machine  guns.  Two  of  them  proved  to  be  British  guns 
taken  from  our  people  early  in  the  war.  Next  morning, 
finding  a  better  path,  we  pushed  forward,  only  to  find  they 
had  disappeared  from  their  positions,  abandoning  all  their 
stores,  workshops,  etc.,  and  they  had  removed  their  big 
gun  through  the  valleys  by  a  cleverly  constructed  and 
hidden  trolley  line.  They  have  vanished  from  the  dis- 
trict entirely.  During  the  fight  the  bees  came  for  us  in 
swarms  and  stung  us  badly.  I  saw  some  of  the  men 
running  round  not  caring  a  penny  for  the  bullets,  but  try- 
ing to  beat  off  the  bees."  * 

In  this  engagement  the  battalion  lost  20  killed  and 
wounded,  including  Captain  Robinson.  It  was  his  first 
battle,  and  his  gallantry  and  coolness  were  remarkable. 
In  the  letter  already  quoted  a  strange  coincidence  was 
remarked.  In  the  action  at  Kwa  Direma  the  Royal  Fusi- 
liers had  captured  three  guns.  One,  a  German  gun,  lacked 
its  feed  block,  and  the  substitute  never  acted  satisfac- 
torily. When  the  guns  captured  at  Ziwani  were  being 
examined,  one  of  them  was  found  to  have  the  missing 
feed  block,  which  had  been  adapted  to  a  British  gun. 

Tandamuti. — After  this  battle  it  was  thought  neces- 
sary to  wait  until  the  column  from  Kilwa  could  co- 
operate, and  the  battalion  spent  the  next  six  weeks  at 
Lindi.  Captain  Buchanan  established  an  outpost  on  the 
north-west  approach  to  Lindi,  but  the  twenty-four  days 
spent  on  this  work  were  without  incident.  In  the  first 
days  of  August  the  enemy  were  holding  a  strong  position 
on  the  left  bank  of  the  Lukuledi  River,  five  or  six  miles 
south-west  of  the  site  of  the  battle  of  Ziwani  and  on  the 
Ziwani  ridge.  Its  southern  flank  lay  on  Tandamuti  hill. 
The  battalion  moved  out  against  this  position  on  the  night 
of  August  2nd,  and  came  into  contact  with  the  enemy 
about  6  a.m.  on  the  3rd.     Two  companies  of  Fusiliers 

*  Extract  from  a  letter  from  an  officer  of  the  25th  Battalion  pub- 
lished in  the  Frontiersman,  War  Number,  191 8. 


LAST  BATTLE  OF  THE  25TH  BATTALION     279 

reinforced  the  King's  African  Rifles  in  the  attack  on  the  hill 
fortifications.  A  gallant  charge  brought  the  men  to  a 
dense  thorn  obstacle,  and  they  had  to  withdraw  under 
intense  fire.  Some  fifty  yards  away  the  machine  guns 
and  Stokes  guns  opened  a  galling  fire,  and  at  3.30  p.m. 
the  enemy's  reply  had  ceased.  At  this  moment,  when 
the  enemy  were  retiring,  the  battalion  were  ordered  to  fall 
back.  The  British  had  fared  badly  on  the  rest  of  the 
battle  front.  The  Fusiliers  found  Germans  in  their  rear, 
and  had  to  fight  a  brisk  skirmish  to  open  up  the  way  to 
Ziwani.  On  the  10th  the  position  was  occupied  without 
opposition  after  the  monitors  Mersey  and  Severn  had 
heavily  bombarded  the  hill. 

Narunyu. — On  August  18th  the  Fusiliers  marched  out 
with  the  1/2   King's  African   Rifles  to  attack  Narunyu, 
about  twenty  miles  south-west  of  Lindi.     They  moved 
north,  then  west,  and  then  south,  to  take  the  position  from 
the  west.     Near  the  hill  overlooking  Narunyu  the  King's 
African  Rifles  were  heavily  engaged,  and  the  Fusiliers  at 
once  formed  with  them  a  hollow  square.     It  was  as  well 
they  had  taken  the  precaution,  for  very  soon  they  were 
attacked  from  all  sides.     In  this  confined  position  they 
fought  for  five  days,  with  very  little  water,  no  cooked 
food  and  hardly  any  undisturbed  rest.     On  the  night  of 
August  22nd  they  were  ordered  to  retire,  and  did  so  under 
cover  of  darkness.     The  battalion,  as  usual,  were  really 
suffering  more  from  the  terrible  climate  than  from  the 
enemy.     On  September  4th  they  took  over  the  front  line 
at  Narunyu  from  the  8th  South  African  Infantry,  who 
were   suffering   still  more.     About   six  weeks   later  the 
Kilwa  and  Lindi  columns  joined  hands,  and  another  action 
was  fought  in  the  Lukuledi  Valley  on  August  18th.     In 
this  action  the  troops  found  themselves  suddenly  con- 
fronted by  an  overwhelming  body  of  the  enemy,  and  in 
covering  a  temporary  retirement   the  Fusiliers  were  cut 
to  pieces. 

In  many  ways  this  was  a  supremely  fitting  ending  of  the 
25th  Battalion's  work  in  Africa.    The  enemy  were  at  their 


280     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT  WAR 

last  blow.  Six  weeks  later  Von  Lettow  was  over  the 
frontier,  and  before  the  end  of  the  year  the  colony  was 
clear  of  Germans.  It  was  the  Royal  Fusiliers'  last  action. 
They  had  sprung  into  existence  quite  suddenly  ;  they 
passed  cleanly  when  the  work  was  done.  A  romantic 
body  of  adventurers,  they  desired  no  better  fate.  Colonel 
Driscoll,  their  commander,  had  a  genius  for  the  sort  of 
warfare  which  filled  this  campaign.  Swift  in  decision, 
resolute,  ingenious  and  experienced,  he  directed  his 
battalion  with  marked  ability,  and  the  25th  won  for  itself 
great  fame  in  the  most  trying  campaign  of  the  war. 


Major-General    Sir   Sydney    Lawford,    K.C.B.,  who   commanded 

THE    22ND    BRIGADE,    AND    LATER    THE    4 1ST    DIVISION. 


CHAPTER  XVI 

THE   HUNDRED   DAYS — FIRST   BATTLES 

The  German  offensive  had  spent  itself  for  the  time  being 
at  the  end  of  April,  but  the  British  Army  had  been 
seriously  weakened  numerically  and  strategically.  Every 
effort  was  strained  to  make  good  the  grave  impairment  of 
the  Allied  positions  by  the  loss  of  the  full  use  of  the  impor- 
tant junctions  of  Amiens,  Bethune  and  Hazebrouck,  which 
had  been  brought  under  the  effective  fire  of  the  enemy's 
guns  ;  and  incessant  labour  was  applied  to  the  construction 
of  a  new  defensive  system.  Between  April  and  August 
these  were  the  most  important  preoccupations  of  the  British 
Army  ;  and  to  such  purpose  were  their  energies  directed 
that  at  the  end  of  the  period  over  200  miles  of  broad  gauge 
track  had  been  laid,  and  "  a  complete  series  of  new  defen- 
sive lines  had  been  built,  involving  the  digging  of  5,000 
miles  of  trench."  Apart  from  these  labours,  the  period 
saw  many  operations  of  a  minor  character,  and  witnessed 
a  definite  and  significant  change  as  the  inevitable  phase 
of  active  defence  approached  its  close. 

Though  the  Royal  Fusiliers  delivered  numerous  raids, 
in  only  one  of  the  minor  operations  mentioned  in  Sir 
Douglas  Haig's  despatches  did  any  of  them  figure.  Many 
of  them  shared  one  experience  which  will  not  easily  be 
forgotten.  An  epidemic  of  influenza  played  havoc  with 
the  troops  in  June.  Thus  between  the  16th  and  21st  June 
inclusive  some  yy  officers  and  men  of  the  1st  Battalion 
went  sick,  and  other  Royal  Fusilier  battalions  also  had 
a  sick-rate  that  began  to  resemble  the  malaria  inroads  in 
the  Balkans. 

The  Lys. — In  the  attack  of  June  3rd,  when  the  Mont  de 
Merris  was  captured,  the  2nd  Battalion  co-operated  by 


282    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

capturing  Lug  Farm.  Major  Tower  and  Second  Lieutenant 
Stokes  went  out  after  dark  on  the  night  of  June  2nd  and 
taped  the  assembly  positions.  The  attack  was  delivered 
by  Y  Company,  commanded  by  Second  Lieutenant  W.  E. 
Stokes,  at  i  a.m.,  and  in  twenty-seven  minutes  the  capture 
of  the  farm  was  signalled.  Fifteen  prisoners  were  taken, 
and  a  considerable  amount  of  equipment.  The  position 
was  consolidated  by  daylight,  and  was  improved  on  the 
following  night,  when  the  Lewis-gun  posts  were  pushed  out 
eastwards  to  conform  to  the  general  alignment.  The 
small  operation,  which  was  carried  out  with  great  rapidity 
and  at  a  small  cost,  won  the  congratulations  of  the  corps, 
divisional  and  brigade  commanders.  The  latter  wrote  : 
"  It  upholds  the  finest  traditions  of  your  regiment." 

On  the  night  of  June  14th  another  operation  took  place 
in  the  Lys  area.  The  4th  Battalion  were  still  lying  on  the 
southern  face  of  the  salient  made  by  the  German  advance, 
and  the  purpose  of  the  attack  was  to  secure  better  positions 
across  the  canal.  The  ground  was  open,  and  the  chances 
of  success  depended  upon  the  possibility  of  securing  the 
advantage  of  complete  surprise.  It  was  accordingly 
planned  to  strike  at  night  and  without  preliminary  bom- 
bardment. Dumps  of  material  for  consolidation  and  two 
days'  rations  were  accumulated  across  the  canal  in  case 
the  enemy's  barrage  should  prevent  movement  across  it ; 
and  after  dark  on  the  night  of  the  14th  the  position  of 
the  canal  foot  bridges  was  changed. 

The  4th  Royal  Fusiliers  with  three  platoons  of  the 
Northumberland  Fusiliers  represented  the  9th  Brigade 
on  the  right  of  the  attack,  and  there  were  two  other 
battalions  of  the  3rd  Division  on  their  left.  Zero 
was  at  11.45  p.m.,  and  the  barrage  was  intense  and 
accurate.  It  lifted  after  about  eight  minutes,  and  the 
battalion  advanced,  X  Company  (Captain  Mabbott, 
M.C.)  being  on  the  left,  and  Z  (Captain  Lord,  D.S.O.,  M.C.) 
on  the  right,  with  W  (Captain  Attewell)  in  support  to  both 
companies.  Advancing  in  three  shallow  columns,  wearing 
white  armlets,  the  men  quickly  reached  their  objective. 


SUCCESSFUL  RAIDS,   JULY,   1918  283 

On  the  extreme  left  of  the  battalion  Lieutenant  Brasher's 
platoon  was  held  up  for  a  time  before  a  machine-gun  post, 
but  the  garrison  were  eventually  bombed  out.  One 
platoon  of  Y  Company,  under  Second  Lieutenant  B.  D. 
Robertson,  with  two  platoons  of  the  Northumberland 
Fusiliers,  attacked  and  cleared  two  posts  in  the  German 
front  line.  By  dawn  the  objective  had  been  taken  and 
consolidated.  The  line  had  been  lifted  forward  an  average 
distance  of  500  yards,  support  posts  had  been  dug  (by  W 
Company),  about  60  prisoners  and  7  machine  guns  had 
been  taken,  and  the  battalion  were  in  touch  with  the  units 
on  both  flanks.  The  total  casualties  were  3  officers  and 
94  other  ranks.  But  the  operation  had  been  very  success- 
ful, and  the  battalion  received  the  congratulations  of  the 

divisional  commander. 

*  *  *  * 

During  the  month  of  July  the  7th  Battalion  were 
exceptionally  active  and  daring  in  their  raids.  They  were 
still  in  the  Mailly  area,  and  their  raids  were  instrumental 
in  causing  the  whole  divisional  front  to  be  advanced.  A 
raiding  party  on  the  night  of  July  4th  did  considerable 
damage  in  the  German  front  line,  killed  5  and  captured  4 
of  the  enemy  for  a  casualty  list  of  1  wounded.  Sergeant 
West  became  separated  from  the  main  body  of  the  patrol. 
He  had  taken  a  prisoner,  and  the  two  wandered  about  in 
No  Man's  Land.  They  were  completely  lost,  but  West 
stuck  to  his  prisoner  and  at  length  brought  him  in  to  the 
Drake  Battalion.  West  was  awarded  the  M.M.  for  this 
exploit.  This  and  further  raids  during  the  month  won 
the  congratulations  of  the  G.O.C.  division,  and  the  front 
of  the  division  was  carried  forward  about  400  yards.  On 
July  27th,  when  the  new  forward  positions  had  been  taken 
up,  the  battalion  received  the  following  message  :  "  The 
divisional  commander  is  extremely  pleased  with  the  good 
patrolling  work  done  by  the  7th  Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers 
during  their  last  tour  of  duty  in  the  trenches,  which  reflects 
great  credit  on  the  officers  and  other  ranks  concerned.  He 
is  also  pleased  with  the  manner  in  which  this  battalion 


284     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

advanced  their  line  and  occupied  the  forward  posts  in  the 
vicinity  of  Hamel  on  the  night  of  22nd — 23rd,  which  was 
also  very  creditable." 

The  men  had  never  lost  their  spirit  even  in  the  darkest 
moments,  and  this  increased  activity  and  growing  success 
on  various  parts  of  the  front  indicated  the  approach  to 
equilibrium  through  the  waning  of  the  German  superiority. 
Some  excitement  was  caused  when,  on  the  29th  July,  the 
C.O.  of  the  2nd  Battalion  received  a  wire  stating  that  the 
French  had  captured  500,000  prisoners  and  600  guns. 
The  battalion  were  enjoying  a  concert  during  a  period  of 
training.  No  one  knew  whence  the  news  had  come,  but 
it  seemed  appropriate  and  obviously  acceptable,  so  it  was 
read  out.  It  was  discovered  later  that  the  signallers  had 
been  sending  a  test  wire !  But  these  were  days  when 
such  stories  appeared  good  enough  to  be  true.  General 
Mangin  had  delivered  the  great  counter-attack  which, 
threatening  the  German  communications  in  the  Marne 
salient,  compelled  a  retreat  under  risky  conditions.  The 
plans  for  the  attack  destined  to  disengage  Amiens  were 
soon  to  be  put  to  the  test. 

The  Battle  of  Amiens. — The  share  of  the  Royal 
Fusiliers  in  the  great  battle  that  first,  beyond  all  ambi- 
guity, marked  the  turn  of  the  tide,  is  apt  to  be  overlooked, 
sharing  in  the  quite  undeserved  criticism  that  has  been 
applied  to  the  work  of  the  3rd  Corps  on  this  occasion. 
By  an  unfortunate  coincidence  the  Germans  anticipated 
the  advance  of  the  3rd  Corps,  and  the  nth  Royal  Fusiliers 
lost  very  heavily  in  this  undesigned  prelude  to  the  Fourth 
Army  advance.  A  reorganisation  of  the  sector  north  of 
the  Somme  was  in  progress  in  the  early  morning  of 
August  6th  when  the  Germans  suddenly  attacked.  This 
part  of  the  front  had  been  the  scene  of  a  striking  Australian 
victory  on  July  29th,  and  the  fresh  27th  Wurttemberg 
Division  had  been  brought  down  from  the  Lille  area  to 
restore  the  moral  of  the  neighbouring  troops  by  a  sharp 
local  attack.  To  the  normal  difficulties  of  a  relief  were 
added  those  of  a  side-stepping  relief.     The  Bedfordshires 


GERMAN  A1TACK,   AUGUST  6th  285 

were  relieved  by  troops  of  the  58th  Division,  and  they 
themselves  were  engaged  in  relieving  the  East  Surreys 
lying  to  the  north.  The  attack  in  such  circumstances  was 
assured  of  success  ;  and,  in  fact,  it  penetrated  about  half 
a  mile  into  the  British  positions  and  secured  200  prisoners. 
This  was  not  the  worst  of  the  attack,  for  it  had  changed 
the  starting  point  of  the  infantry  and  also  the  artillery 
programme  for  August  8th.  An  attempt  was  therefore 
made  to  restore  the  original  situation,  though  even  this 
prejudiced  the  battle  of  Amiens  by  exhausting  troops  who 
were  to  have  taken  part  in  the  advance. 

During  the  night  of  6th — 7th  a  persistent  drizzle  fell, 
and  the  trenches  were  filled  with  mud.  The  counter- 
attack was  delivered  by  two  companies  of  the  nth  Royal 
Fusiliers,  north  of  the  Bray  road,  with  one  company  each 
of  the  Bedfords  and  Northants,  of  the  same  brigade. 
But  misfortune  continued  faithful.  B  Company,  on  the 
left  of  the  nth  Battalion,  could  not  locate  the  unit  on  their 
left,  and  the  gap  of  300  yards  in  this  part  of  the  front  had 
to  be  filled  up  by  two  platoons.  The  whole  plan  was 
vitiated  by  this  mischance.  When  the  barrage  opened  at 
4.40  a.m.  the  company  had  300  yards  of  front  more  than 
had  been  allocated  to  them.  An  attempt  to  advance  with 
two  platoons  proved  a  failure,  and  the  men  returned 
without  taking  the  objective.  In  effect  they  filled  the 
role  which  had  been  given  to  a  company  of  the  East 
Surreys  on  the  left.  D  Company,  in  command  of  Captain 
P.  Baker,  had  meanwhile  captured  their  objective. 

But  the  barrage  died  down  at  5.10  a.m.,  and  at  6  o'clock 
four  attacks  were  delivered  by  the  Wurttemberg  troops. 
All  of  these  were  beaten  off,  but  one  platoon,  having  ex- 
hausted their  bombs,  had  to  fall  back.  The  enemy  gained 
a  footing  in  Cloncurry  Trench,  the  German  front  line, 
and  began  to  bomb  down  it.  Private  Maloney's  Lewis 
gun  had  been  knocked  out  by  a  direct  hit  from  a  trench 
mortar ;  but  after  a  search  he  discovered  another,  and 
promptly  bringing  it  into  action,  checked  the  enemy 
advance.     Both  flanks  of  D  Company  were  now  in  the  air, 


286     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE   GREAT  WAR 

but  Captain  Baker  held  on  until  all  his  bombs  were 
exhausted  and  only  three  men  remained.  He  was 
wounded,  but  crawled  back  and  reorganised  Croydon 
Trench.  Lieutenant  Wixcey  with  two  platoons  of  B 
Company  pushed  up  this  trench  shortly  afterwards  and 
recaptured  part  of  Cloncurry  Trench.  They  were  working 
north  and  south  when  another  heavy  German  attack  at 
3  p.m.,  after  a  sharp  fight,  pushed  them  back.  The 
brigade  had  decided  to  make  a  carefully  prepared  counter- 
attack in  the  evening,  but  before  this  could  be  rearranged 
officers  on  the  spot  delivered  a  counter-attack,  which  com- 
pletely exhausted  the  battalion  ;  and  at  the  end  of  the  day 
they  had  to  fall  back  to  the  original  positions.  Many  were 
the  acts  of  gallantry  in  this  action.  Captain  Baker  was 
awarded  the  M.C.,  as  also  were  Second  Lieutenants 
Measures  and  Ross  for  their  courage  and  skill.  Private 
Maloney  secured  the  M.M.  But  the  net  effect  of  the 
gallantry  and  skill  was  not  to  be  measured  by  positions. 
The  battalion  inflicted  heavy  loss  on  the  enemy,  and 
thus  had  their  part  in  the  success  of  the  morrow 
without  the  glamour  which  that  victory  threw  over  the 
battle. 

The  9th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  lent  with  their  brigade 
to  the  1 8th  Division  to  take  the  place  of  the  54th  Brigade, 
who,  as  we  have  seen,  had  been  badly  handled  on  the  two 
preceding  days.  They  had  had  no  time  for  preliminary 
reconnaissance  of  the  ground,  and  the  Somme  Valley,  with 
its  gashes  of  deep  ravines,  was  pre-eminently  an  area  for 
careful  study.  The  early  morning  was  very  misty,  and 
with  the  night's  gas  bombardment  this  proved  an  addi- 
tional handicap.  The  tanks  were  rather  effectively  mixed 
up  through  these  conditions,  and  the  9th  Battalion  had  to 
attack  without  them.  The  battalion  were  assembled  on 
the  starting  line  by  3.30  a.m.,  but  three  officers  and  the 
bulk  of  two  platoons  had  been  placed  hors  de  combat  by 
the  heavy  shelling  while  moving  up.  Indeed,  the  enemy 
expected  a  counter-attack  after  their  advance  on  the  6th, 
and  the  element  of  surprise  was  unfortunately  lacking  on 


ADVANCE  ON  AUGUST  8th  287 

the  sector  which  most  needed  some  adventitious  counter- 
poise to  its  inherent  difficulties. 

Zero  was  at  4.20  a.m.,  and  the  barrage  fell  ten  minutes 
earlier.  At  this  moment  the  men  could  see  only  about 
ten  yards  ahead  owing  to  the  mist.  Yet  in  these  condi- 
tions A  and  B  Companies  promptly  gained  the  first  objec- 
tive, and  D  and  C  passed  through  to  the  second  battalion 
objective,  i.e.,  the  first  objective  for  the  day.  The  53rd 
Brigade  then  passed  through  towards  their  objective, 
assisting  in  their  stride  in  establishing  the  units  on  the  first. 
But  a  prompt  German  counter-attack  drove  them  back, 
and  in  the  afternoon  the  9th  Battalion  found  that  they 
were  holding  the  front  line.  This  was  a  little  to  the  west 
of  the  first  objective  of  the  day  ;  and  in  this  position  the 
battalion  consolidated  in  touch  with  troops  on  the  right, 
and  eventually  with  the  5th  Royal  West  Kents  on  the  left. 
They  had  lost  6  officers,  including  Lieutenant  W.  E. 
Hill  and  Second  Lieutenants  R.  T.  Eagar  and  A.  Nicholson, 
killed,  and  350  other  ranks  ;  but  they  had  captured  300 
prisoners,  30  machine  guns,  and  8  trench  mortars.  Taking 
into  account  the  extraordinarily  difficult  conditions  under 
which  they  attacked,  this  must  be  held  a  very  creditable 
performance. 

To  the  south  the  174th  Brigade  (58th  Division)  played 
a  similar  role  to  that  of  the  nth  Royal  Fusiliers,  and  the 
173rd  or  Fusilier  Brigade  went  through  towards  the 
second  objective  of  the  day.  The  three  battalions  were 
all  engaged  in  this  phase  of  the  battle.  The  thick  fog 
nearer  the  river  caused  the  3rd  Londons  to  lose  direction, 
and  they  became  involved  in  fighting  before  the  174th 
Brigade  had  gained  their  objective.  Battalion  head- 
quarters pushed  forward  and  attacked  the  quarry  beyond 
Malard  Wood.  After  a  sharp  struggle  they  captured 
four  machine  guns  and  over  70  prisoners.  But  when  the 
first  objective  had  been  captured  by  the  174th  Brigade,  the 
3rd  Londons  were  already  too  weak  to  go  further.  The 
2/4th,  on  the  left  of  the  3rd  Londons,  fared  no  better  ;  and 
a  final  attack  of  the  3rd,  2/4  and  2/2  Londons  in  the 


288     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

evening,  though  it  carried  them  on  to  the  Chipilly  Spur 
could  not  achieve  success.  An  outpost  line  was  taken 
up  during  the  night.  On  the  following  day  the  attack 
was  renewed.  At  5.40  p.m.  the  three  battalions  moved 
forward  again,  and  captured  Celestine  Wood  and  Chipilly 
Spur,  north  of  Chipilly.  They  were  relieved  on  the  10th, 
by  which  time  they  had  lost  680  officers  and  men.  On 
this  day,  while  the  3rd  Londons  were  in  close  support, 
Lieut. -Colonel  S.  E.  Saunders,  M.C.,  was  severely  wounded, 
a  serious  loss  to  the  battalion. 

Morlancourt  fell  on  the  9th,  and  the  9th  Royal  Fusiliers 
moved  to  the  east  of  the  village  to  consolidate.  At 
10  p.m.  on  August  10th  they  too  were  relieved  and  moved 
back  to  the  old  British  front  and  support  lines  north-west 
of  Morlancourt. 

Further  action  on  this  part  of  the  front  was  of  a  local 
character.  The  9th  Battalion  on  August  13th  took  part 
in  a  useful  little  engagement,  which  gave  their  division  a 
foothold  on  the  highest  part  (Hill  105)  of  the  ridge  which 
rises  above  Morlancourt,  Dernancourt  and  Meaulte.  The 
attack  was  delivered  at  4.55  a.m.,  covered  by  a  heavy 
barrage,  and  was  immediately  successful.  But  a  German 
counter-attack  drove  back  the  7th  Sussex  on  the  Fusiliers' 
right,  and  the  9th  Battalion,  retaining  their  positions, 
swung  round  their  right  flank  to  the  original  front  line, 
where  they  achieved  contact  with  the  Sussex.  This  small 
engagement  cost  the  9th  Battalion  only  four  casualties, 
all  wounded. 

The  Battle  of  Bapaume. — The  resistance  of  the 
enemy  in  front  of  the  Fourth  Army  having  stiffened,  Sir 
Douglas  Haig  determined  to  transfer  the  front  of  attack 
to  the  sector  north  of  the  Somme,  where  an  attack  seemed 
unexpected,  and  "  it  was  arranged  that  on  the  morning  of 
the  2 1st  August  a  limited  attack  should  be  launched 
north  of  the  Ancre  to  gain  the  general  line  of  the  Arras- 
Albert  railway,  on  which  it  was  correctly  assumed  that 
the  enemy's  main  line  of  resistance   was  sited."*     The 

*  Despatch. 


CAPTURE  OF  ABLAINZEVILLE,  AUGUST  2ist   289 

forward  positions  across  the  Ancre,  including  Beaumont- 
Hamel,  Serre,  Puisieux  and  Bucquoy,  had  been  evacuated 
a  week  before.  The  13th  and  10th  Royal  Fusiliers  formed 
up  in  the  newly  recovered  ground ;  and  at  4.55  a.m.  the 
13th,  lying  south-west  of  Bucquoy,  for  a  loss  of  only  13 
captured  their  objectives,  which  consisted  of  part  of  the 
high  ground  east  of  Bucquoy  and  Ablainzeville. 

The  10th  Royal  Fusiliers  had  a  more  eventful  day,  though 
their  right  companies,  B  and  D,  reached  their  objectives 
and  consolidated  within  thirty-five  minutes.  B's  role 
was  to  move  south  of  the  village  of  Ablainzeville,  followed 
by  D,  and  assist  in  cutting  off  the  village  from  the  east. 
The  heavy  ground  mist  enabled  the  men  to  assemble  un- 
observed, and  very  little  opposition  was  encountered.  C  and 
A  Companies  pushed  through  the  village  with  eight  tanks, 
C  on  the  left  and  A  on  the  right.  The  latter  also  had  a 
very  quiet  journey,  and  cleared  their  part  of  the  village 
without  a  casualty.  C,  on  the  other  hand,  was  under 
machine-gun  fire  from  the  very  beginning.  The  starting 
point  lay  so  near  the  village  that  the  north-west  corner 
escaped  the  barrage.  But  after  a  brisk  fight,  assisted  by 
the  tanks,  the  village  was  completely  cleared,  56  prisoners 
(including  2  officers),  six  machine  guns,  and  one  trench 
mortar  were  captured. 

In  the  second  stage  of  the  advance  the  fog  proved  a 
greater  handicap  than  in  the  first  phase.  The  leading 
brigades  of  the  63rd  Division  who  passed  through  to 
continue  the  advance  became  confused.  It  was  difficult 
for  the  platoons,  in  artillery  formation,  to  keep  in  touch. 
The  tanks  lost  their  bearings,  and  when  the  brigades 
re-formed  for  attack  their  barrage  had  stopped,  and  they 
were  held  up.  The  7th  Royal  Fusiliers  with  the  190th 
Brigade  passed  through  the  leading  brigades,  and  with 
some  difficulty  were  able  to  consolidate  positions  on  a 
line  parallel  with  the  southern  edge  of  Logeast  Wood. 
But  this  was  not  achieved  until  soon  after  dark.  Mean- 
while the  23rd  Royal  Fusiliers,  starting  at  zero  from  before 
Ayette,  advanced  about  2,000  yards  to  Aerodrome  Trench. 


2Q0    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

At  this  point  the  3rd  Division  passed  through  the  2nd, 
and  with  them  went  the  4th  Royal  Fusiliers.  The 
battalion  had  already  suffered  heavily  on  the  way  up  to 
assembly  positions  when  in  a  burst  of  shell  fire  they  lost 
their  CO.,  Lieut. -Colonel  Hartley,  severely  wounded, 
another  officer  and  50  other  ranks.  The  whole  brigade, 
moreover,  found  the  greatest  difficulty  in  finding  their 
positions  in  the  Blue  Line,  secured  by  the  2nd  Division. 
By  a  diligent  use  of  the  compass  they  at  length  arrived, 
after  reducing  a  few  machine-gun  posts  on  the  way. 
For  the  next  stage  of  the  advance  the  4th  Battalion  were 
in  the  rear  of  the  1st  Northumberland  Fusiliers,  the  right 
battalion  of  the  3rd  Division. 

Very  little  opposition  was  encountered  in  reaching  the 
railway,  but  in  the  2,500  yards  between  it  and  the  Blue 
Line  the  utmost  difficulty  was  experienced  in  keeping 
touch  with  the  other  units.  The  4th  Battalion  com- 
pletely lost  the  1st  Northumberland  Fusiliers,  and 
advancing  by  compass,  marched  direct  upon  the  railway, 
which  they  reached  before  the  "  leading "  battalion. 
They  were  then  lying  some  2,000  yards  east  of  the  north- 
east corner  of  Logeast  Wood.  But  the  63rd  Division 
had  not  come  up  on  their  right.  The  right  front  (Y, 
Captain  Royle,  M.C.)  and  support  (Z,  Lieutenant  Evans) 
companies  both  lost  their  commanders  ;  and  Lieutenant 
F.  A.  Hicks,  M.C.  was  also  killed.  By  10.20  a.m.  the 
Northumberland  Fusiliers  were  signalling  that  the  railway 
crossings  were  fit  for  whippets.  The  position  was  estab- 
lished and  consolidated,  with  the  Northumberlands*  right 
flank  drawn  back  from  the  railway  towards  Logeast  Wood. 

The  4th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  now  drawn  back  to 
support.  During  the  following  day  several  attacks  were 
delivered  on  the  new  positions,  and  shortly  after  noon 
the  Germans  pushed  into  the  gap  between  the  right  of 
the  3rd  Division  and  the  left  of  the  63rd  Division.  The 
7th  Royal  Fusiliers  found  their  position  turned,  and  there 
was  a  fierce  struggle  before  the  gap  was  filled  and  the 
original  line  restored.     The  day  was  very  hot,  and  the 


THE  CROSSING  OF  THE  ANCRE  291 

7th  Battalion  suffered  much  from  lack  of  water  and  small 
arm  ammunition.  The  expenditure  of  ammunition  was 
very  heavy,  and  the  arrangements  for  supply  by  aeroplane 
did  not  work  very  well.  Some  was  dropped  in  No  Man's 
Land,  some  in  Logeast  Wood,  where  it  could  not  be  found. 
At  one  point  the  battalion  had  to  borrow  3,000  rounds 
from  the  Bedfords,  and  at  6  p.m.  the  brigade  supplied 
20,000  rounds. 

Of  the  heavy  casualties  suffered  in  these  two  days 
the  bulk  in  the  2nd  Division  units  were  caused  by 
gas.  The  17th  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  were  in  support, 
had  92  casualties  from  this  cause,  and  the  23rd  Battalion 
lost  14  officers  and  369  men.  Gas  does  not  seem  to  have 
proved  so  terrible  a  weapon  to  other  units  ;  and  this,  with 
the  strange  differences  of  movement  and  achievement 
among  the  troops,  goes  to  round  off  an  attack  which, 
though  successful  in  the  main,  reads  like  failure  in  the 
detailed  experience  of  many  of  the  battalions  who  carried 
it  out. 

But  on  this  day,  August  22nd,  the  attack  was  extended 
according  to  plan.  The  Third  Army  advance  had  brought 
their  front  forward  to  positions  before  Achiet  le  Grand  and 
along  the  north  bank  of  the  Ancre.  The  action  of  August 
22nd  on  the  Fourth  Army  front  was  designed  to  bring 
forward  their  left  in  preparation  for  a  joint  attack  of  both 
armies  on  August  23rd.  The  enemy  had  to  be  driven  out 
of  his  positions  in  and  around  Albert,  and  the  nth  Royal 
Fusiliers  were  involved  in  the  capture  of  the  ground 
between  Meaulte  and  Albert.  They  had  first  to  cross  the 
Ancre,  and  the  trestle  bridges  made  by  the  R.E.  were 
placed  in  position  on  the  night  of  August  21st.  It  was 
bright  moonlight,  and  many  of  the  men  seemed  to  regard 
the  undertaking  as  a  joke.  As  a  consequence  the  atten- 
tion of  the  enemy  was  aroused,  and  the  men  came  under  a 
heavy  machine-gun  fire.  Private  F.  G.  Hughes,  finding 
one  of  the  bridges  could  not  be  placed  for  this  reason, 
jumped  into  the  river  and  pulled  the  bridge  into  position, 
despite  the  concentrated  fire  from  three  machine  guns. 

u  a 


292    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

The  patrols  anticipated  the  barrage,  and  seizing  *  a  foot- 
hold on  the  Albert-Meaulte  road  above  Vivier  Mill, 
enabled  the  nth  Battalion  to  cross  the  Ancre  and  form 
up  on  this  road.  In  front  of  them  lay  a  belt  of  marshy 
ground  which,  outside  a  few  paths,  was  quite  impassable- 
Frequently  the  men  had  to  wade  with  the  water  up  to 
their  hips,  and  Sergeant  Ryan,  seeing  two  platoons  held 
up  in  the  marsh,  went  back  under  an  intense  fire  and 
guided  them  by  a  path  to  the  German  position.  C.S.M. 
Balchin  reorganised  his  company  under  similar  conditions, 
and  headed  the  assault  on  the  first  position.  Wounded 
men  were  in  danger  of  drowning ;  but  the  gallantry  of 
Private  C.  Smith,  in  charge  of  the  stretcher-bearers,  saved 
many  by  repeatedly  crossing  the  treacherous  ground, 
despite  the  enemy's  fire.  The  battalion,  through  these 
and  other  acts  of  cool  courage,  carried  their  front  to  about 
500  yards  east  of  Bellevue  Farm,  with  their  left  bent  back 
to  Black  Wood.  Until  the  brigade  on  their  left  got 
through  Albert  no  further  progress  could  be  made,  and 
the  battalion  were  relieved  in  these  positions. 

A  little  to  the  south  the  9th  Royal  Fusiliers  went  for- 
ward on  a  front  of  1,000  yards  to  a  depth  of  2,500  yards, 
keeping  pace  on  their  left  with  the  5th  Royal  Berks,  who 
captured  and  cleared  up  Meaulte.  The  9th  Royal  Fusiliers, 
with  an  easier  task,  overcame  the  resistance  in  their  front 
readily,  and  for  a  total  casualty  list  of  83  captured  100 
prisoners,  twelve  machine  guns  and  four  trench  mortars. 
Unfortunately  among  the  casualties  were  Lieutenant  H.  A. 
Kilmister,  Second  Lieutenant  L.  F.  Wade,  and  Second 
Lieutenant  A.  H.  King  killed  ;  and  the  experience  of  the 
day  proved  the  need  of  officers. 

Bullecourt. — On  the  following  day  the  main  attack 
was  launched  as  far  north  as  Mercatel,  and  by  the  end  of 
the  month  the  British  positions  on  this  front  had  changed 
remarkably.  The  1st,  2nd  and  4th  Londons — 56th 
Division — had  in  front  of  them  a  region  of  country  that 

*  "  This  very  well-executed  enterprise  "  ("  The  Story  of  the  Fourth 
Army,"  p.  76). 


FIGHTING  AT  BULLECOURT,  AUGUST,  1918    293 

had  never  yielded  much  to  the  repeated  assaults  of  both 
British  and  German  troops.  At  the  beginning  of  the 
German  offensive  the  front  had  only  been  some  four  and  a 
half  miles  to  the  east.  Over  a  week's  hard  fighting  was 
now  necessitated  to  carry  the  positions  over  the  five  miles, 
including  Bullecourt.  On  the  23rd  the  4th  Londons  were 
in  the  centre  of  the  brigade  who  carried  Boyelles  and  the 
ground  up  to  Summit  Trench,  1,000  yards  west  of  Croi- 
silles.  Less  than  3,000  yards  to  the  east  lay  the  Hinden- 
burg  line,  and  the  1st  Londons  pitted  B  and  D  Companies 
against  this  obstacle  on  August  24th.  But  five  belts  of 
wire  lay  in  front  of  them,  and  the  attack  was  unsuccessful. 
Fooley  Trench  (south-west  of  Fontaine  les  Croisilles)  and 
Fooley  Post  provided  the  objectives  for  several  further 
abortive  attacks.  The  1st  Londons  made  an  attempt  on 
the  25th,  but  without  success.  They  were  relieved  on  the 
following  day  by  the  2nd  Londons,  who,  attacking  due 
east  towards  the  Hindenburg  line,  captured  and  cleared 
Fooley  Trench,  capturing  twelve  machine  guns  and  four 
prisoners.  The  wounded  still  remaining  in  No  Man's  Land 
from  an  earlier  counter-attack  were  collected  under  fire 
by  a  party  under  Second  Lieutenant  G.  H.  Merrikin,  who 
lost  his  life  while  so  doing.  Croisilles,  which  formed  the 
objective  of  another  unit  this  day,  was  as  yet  unreduced, 
and  the  battalion  came  under  heavy  enfilade  fire  from  the 
right,  the  northern  corner  of  the  village.  But  they  fought 
on  against  a  heavy  resistance  up  Sensee  Avenue,  when, 
reduced  to  2  officers  and  63  other  ranks,  they  were  ordered 
to  stand  and  abandon  the  attempt  to  advance  further^ 
They  consolidated  with  a  line  of  strong  posts.  In  this 
battle  they  lost  9  officers  and  199  other  ranks. 

On  March  28th  the  4th  Londons  relieved  the  2nd,  and 
they  had  the  distinction  of  twice  fighting  through  Bulle- 
court in  the  next  few  days.  On  the  31st,  in  about  half  an 
hour  after  the  beginning  of  the  attack,  the  left  company 
(D)  were  half-way  through  the  northern  end  of  the  village. 
The  right  company  (C)  were  at  this  time  held  up,  but  the 
support  company  entered  the  village  and  began  to  "  mop 


294    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

up."  Slow  progress  was  made,  but  by  8.40  a.m.  the  left 
company  were  through  the  northern  end  of  the  village  and 
in  touch  with  the  Middlesex.  The  reserve  company  rilled 
the  gap  between  the  two  leading  companies,  and  C 
Company  were  able  to  push  through  to  the  east,  where 
they  were  held  up  some  time  by  machine  guns  in  a  derelict 
tank.  At  3  p.m.  the  village  was  clear  of  the  enemy,  and 
Lewis-gun  posts  were  established  across  the  eastern  out- 
skirts. After  this  very  useful  attack  the  battalion  were 
relieved  on  September  1st.  The  three  battalions  of  the 
London  Regiment  lost  in  the  August  operations  38  officers 
and  805  other  ranks,  and  after  the  recapture  of  Bulle- 
court  they  were  withdrawn  to  refit. 

The  Lys. — Meanwhile  the  rest  of  the  front  had  changed 
more  rapidly.  Even  in  the  Lys  area  the  German  gains 
were  being  surrendered.  The  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  returned 
to  the  sector  of  the  line,  which  in  April  had  seen  their 
brave  but  unsuccessful  attempts  to  check  the  German 
advance,  on  August  17th,  and  two  days  later  co-operated 
with  the  attack  on  Outtersteene  Ridge  by  sending  out 
patrols  to  Lynde  Farm.  It  was  thought  that  in  this 
sector  with  a  little  persuasion  the  line  could  be  advanced, 
but  a  very  hot  machine-gun  fire  soon  brought  disillusion. 
Second  Lieutenant  Quinn  was  killed,  with  5  other  ranks, 
while  15  men  were  wounded.  A  planned  attack  was 
delivered  at  5  p.m.  on  the  19th.  The  fortified  farms 
Lynde  and  Lesage  were  captured ;  and  W  Company,  on 
the  right,  also  assisted  the  12th  Norfolks  in  the  capture  of 
Labis  Farm.  The  battalion  that  night  held  a  line  in  front 
of  the  sector  of  the  Vieux  Berquin-Outtersteene  road, 
running  from  the  cross  roads  to  the  railway.  Their  total 
casualty  list  was  73  killed  and  wounded,  including  Second 
Lieutenants  Whyte  and  Brown  killed  ;  but  they  took 
prisoner  1  officer  and  no  men  and  captured  ten  machine 
guns  and  two  trench  mortars.  On  the  next  two  days 
patrols  were  pushed  forward  to  Haute  Maison,  over 
1,000  yards  due  east.  No  opposition  was  met,  and  the 
forward  positions  were  consolidated. 


RECOVERY   OF  KEMMEL  HILL  295 

Kemmel  Hill. — A  more  important  readjustment  of 
the  line  took  place  before  the  end  of  the  month  on  the 
northern  face  of  the  Lys  sector.     The  26th  Royal  Fusiliers 
had  moved  to  this  part  of  the  front  at  the  end  of  June, 
their  division  relieving  the  French  troops  who  were  then 
holding  it.     When  they  went  into  the  front  line  on  July 
10th  the  defences  still  showed  signs  of  bitter  fighting. 
The  front  line  companies  held  shallow  rifle  pits  without 
any  communications.     They  were  consequently  confined 
to  their  positions  during  the  long  summer  days,  and  could 
only  leave  them  in  the  brief  hours  of  darkness.     Even  then 
the  commanding  position  of  Kemmel  Hill  made  movement 
risky.     Despite  all  handicaps,  Second  Lieutenants  Hector 
and  Freemantle  took  out  a  raiding  party  of  B  Company 
towards  the  end  of  the  month  and  secured  the  necessary 
identifications.*     They  were  relieved  by  American  troops 
on  July  31st,  but  returned  to  the  line  on  August  29th. 
They  were  due  to  be  relieved  on  August  31st,  but  on  the 
preceding  evening  they  were  very  heavily  shelled.     About 
9  p.m.  the  barrage  appeared  to  be  directed  on  the  German 
front  line  positions  ;   and,  appreciating  the  significance  of 
this  procedure  at  once,  the  commanding  officer  sent  out 
patrols  under  Second  Lieutenant  K.  B.  Legg  and  Second 
Lieutenant  F.  J.  Quinton.     The  German  front  line  was 
reported  evacuated,  and  it  was  inferred  that  the  Germans 
were  abandoning  Kemmel  Hill.     The  relief  was  cancelled  ; 
and    C    Company,  under  Lieutenant  W.   Willson,  were 
ordered  to  follow  up  the  retirement.     They  began  to  move 
forward  before  dawn,  and  were  half-way  up  the  western 
slope  before  they  met  with  any  opposition.     A  very  heavy 
machine-gun  fire  was  then  experienced  from  the  left,  and 
the  company  were  halted  while  scouts  went  forward.     At 
10.30   a.m.   C  and  D   Companies  crossed  the  hill  and 
advanced  down  the  eastern  slopes.     In  the  lower  ground 
the  enemy  could  be  seen  retiring  covered  by  small  rear- 
guards.    The   26th   Battalion   now   formed   part   of   an 
organised  advance  ;    and  they  rapidly  pushed  eastwards 

*  Both  these  officers  received  the  M.C. 


296    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

about  a  mile  and  a  half,  in  which  position  they  were  relieved 
in  the  morning  of  September  ist.  The  only  casualties 
were  two  men  wounded  in  one  of  the  most  bitterly  con- 
tested areas  on  the  whole  of  the  front,  a  striking  indication 
of  the  different  tempo  of  the  fighting.  The  Lys  front  was 
yielding,  and  the  2nd  Battalion  advanced  on  August  31st 
and  September  ist  to  a  line  from  La  Becque  to  a  point 
about  1,000  yards  due  west  of  La  Creche.  The  German 
guns  had  been  moved  back,  and  only  a  few  shells  and 

occasional  snipers  met  the  troops  as  they  advanced. 
»  *  *  * 

Meanwhile  the  main  attack  had  been  delivered  to  the 
south.  On  August  23rd  the  4th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  to 
advance  with  the  general  movement  of  the  3rd  Division. 
As  the  76th  Brigade  moved  on  Gomiecourt  at  4  a.m.,  the 
9th  were  to  complete  the  capture  of  the  railway.  The 
2nd  Division  were  to  pass  through  the  3rd  Division  at 
11  a.m.  with  the  37th  Division  on  their  right ;  but  at 
10.20  a.m.  the  9th  Brigade  were  ordered  to  fill  the  gap 
between  the  2nd  and  37th  Divisions,  the  Northumberland 
Fusiliers  being  followed  by  the  4th  Royal  Fusiliers.  The 
Northumberland  Fusiliers  accordingly  advanced  about  a 
mile  beyond  the  railway  and  the  4th  Royal  Fusiliers  closed 
up  to  the  west  side  of  the  line. 

The  24th  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  went  through  with  the 
2nd  Division  at  11  a.m.,  met  with  a  heavy  artillery  fire  at 
once.  In  crossing  the  railway  they  also  suffered  from 
rifle  fire  directed  from  a  small  post  on  their  right.  Gomie- 
court was  left  on  the  south,  and  the  battalion  swung  to 
the  right  in  the  face  of  a  heavy  fire  from  all  arms.  Their 
way  was  pitted  by  8-inch  shells,  and  machine-gun  fire  met 
them  on  both  flanks.  The  conditions,  in  fine,  were  almost 
intolerable  ;  but  the  battalion  went  through  the  barrage, 
cool,  unhurried,  unfaltering,  and,  with  the  Highland  Light 
Infantry,  they  reached  and  consolidated  the  ridge  west  of 
Behagnies.  Here  a  field  gun,  limbers,  and  eight  horses 
were  captured,  with  much  booty,  including  a  number  of 
valuable  documents. 


THE  13TH  BATTALION'S  FINE  SUCCESS     297 

C  Company  of  the  17th  Battalion,  advancing  in  support 
of  the  1st  King's  attack  a  little  to  the  north,  captured  five 
77-mm.  guns.  The  23rd  Battalion  provided  a  composite 
company,  who  also  attacked  in  this  sector  of  the  front,  and 
succeeded  in  securing  positions  just  west  of  Sapignies. 

Achiet  le  Grand. — The  13th  Royal  Fusiliers,  attack- 
ing on  the  south-west,  had  a  more  stirring  time.  No.  2 
Company,  under  Captain  Whitehead,  M.C.,*  on  the  left 
front,  skilfully  turned  the  brickworks  west  of  Achiet  le 
Grand,  capturing  60  prisoners  and  n  light  machine  guns  ; 
but  No.  3  Company,  on  the  right,  met  with  intense  machine- 
gun  fire  on  the  top  of  the  railway  embankment.  The 
Germans  were  in  good  cover,  and  could  not  be  easily  located. 
The  attack  was  held  up  temporarily,  and  then,  under 
cover  of  a  heavy  and  sustained  fire,  the  men  were  enabled 
to  crawl  up  the  embankment  and  enfilade  the  enemy.  A 
Lewis-gun  team  rushed  across  and  took  the  Germans  in 
the  rear.  Indeed,  this  was  a  fight  of  fights.  The  team 
were  picked  off  one  by  one,  but  not  before  they  had  so 
demoralised  the  Germans  that  a  sudden  rush  finished  the 
struggle.  The  cutting  was  like  a  rabbit  warren.  It  was 
simply  alive  with  Germans,  and  their  surrender  was  almost 
embarrassing.  Dug-out  after  dug-out  was  cleared.  One  of 
them  disgorged  a  German  staff,  including  an  officer  who 
spoke  English.  He  was  promptly  pressed  into  service, 
and  went  round  with  the  mopping-up  party.  His  authori- 
tative orders  to  come  out  and  surrender  were  obeyed  with 
alacrity.  Out  of  this  cutting  at  least  400  Germans  were 
taken,  with  many  light  and  heavy  machine  guns.  The 
position  had  been  thought  so  secure  that  in  one  of  the 
dug-outs  a  meal  had  just  been  taken.  Hot  coffee  lay  on 
the  table.  It  was  one  of  the  greatest  days  experienced 
by  the  battalion,  and  their  right  flank  was  apparently  in 
the  air.  Patrols  were  sent  down  for  1,000  yards  without 
locating  any  other  troops.  The  cutting  was  crossed,  and 
the  advance  was  resumed.  Through  the  battalion's  col- 
lecting station  that  day  over  1,000  prisoners  passed,  and 

*  He  received  the  D.S.O.  for  his  services  on  this  day. 


298     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE   GREAT  WAR 

the  battalion's  casualties  from  the  21st  to  the  27th  in- 
clusive were  little  more  than  a  fifth  of  this  number. 
Captain  J.  Marguard  and  Second  Lieutenant  A.  McCarthy 
were  killed  in  this  engagement,  and  5  officers  were 
wounded. 

The  10th  Royal  Fusiliers  passed  through  to  attack 
Achiet  le  Grand  at  1.30  p.m.,  after  the  village  had  been 
bombarded  for  an  hour.  D  Company  were  on  the  left, 
A  on  the  right,  with  B  in  the  centre.  The  village  held  a 
large  German  garrison  ;  but  apparently  the  crushing  of  the 
resistance  in  the  cutting  to  the  west,  combined  with  the 
bombardment,  had  broken  their  morale,  for  Second  Lieu- 
tenant W.  F.  Smith  With  his  platoon,  only  19  strong,  alone 
captured  118  of  the  enemy.  The  village  was  soon  cleared 
and  the  battalion  advanced  to  the  east ;  but  their  right 
flank  was  in  the  air  and  so  continued  throughout  the  day 
and  night.  About  200  yards  south  of  the  village  the 
enemy  were  still  in  possession  of  a  strong  post,  and  a 
heavy  machine-gun  fire  was  kept  up  from  this  quarter. 
The  village  was  also  heavily  bombarded ;  but  there  were 
few  casualties,  as  the  battalion  had  withdrawn  to  the  east. 
On  the  following  day  the  battalion  were  relieved  and  went 
back  to  the  dug-outs  in  the  cutting  which  had  been  so 
skilfully  cleared  by  the  13th  Royal  Fusiliers. 

Behagnies. — The  attack  of  the  24th  Royal  Fusiliers 
on  August  23rd  carried  the  battalion  to  the  ridge  west  of 
Behagnies,  while  the  23rd  Battalion  were  moving  to  the 
threshold  of  Sapignies.  On  the  25th  Behagnies,  Sapig- 
nies,  and  Favreuil  were  attacked,  the  first  and  last  by  the 
Royal  Fusiliers  to  whom  they  fell.  In  effect,  the  troops 
were  aiming  at  the  northern  flank  of  Bapaume.  On  the 
24th  the  17th  Royal  Fusiliers  had  co-operated  in  the 
attack  upon  Mory.  The  contribution  of  the  regiment  to 
the  successes  of  the  25th  was  more  significant.  The  24th 
Battalion  had  spent  a  day  in  reorganisation  and  prepara- 
tion for  the  resumption  of  the  attack.  The  assault  began 
at  3.30  a.m.,  and  was  a  complete  surprise.  Behagnies  was 
strongly  held,  and  there  were  no  machine  guns.     But 


CAPTURE  OF  FAVREUIL,  AUGUST  25TH    299 

the  troops  followed  the  barrage  so  closely  that  they  were 
upon  the  positions  before  the  elaborate  defences  could  be 
manned.  Many  of  the  men  were  sleeping  in  their  dug- 
outs. These  for  the  most  part  recognised  the  inevitable 
and  surrendered.  Some  who  attempted  to  escape  were 
promptly  shot  down.  The  support  company  did  their 
work  of  mopping  up  thoroughly  and  expeditiously,  while 
the  leading  companies  pushed  through  the  village  towards 
their  objective,  the  ridge  about  300  yards  east  of  Behag- 
nies.  This  was  occupied  and  put  into  a  state  of  defence  ; 
and  the  support  company,  having  completed  their  work 
in  the  village,  took  up  positions  to  guard  the  southern 
approaches.  Many  young  and  untried  troops  took  part 
in  this  action.  It  was  their  first  battle,  but  they  behaved 
with  all  the  sang  froid  of  veterans.  At  6  p.m.  the  village 
was  completely  in  the  hands  of  the  battalion  with  200 
prisoners,  a  number  which  exceeded  the  total  casualties 
of  the  battalion  for  the  two  days'  operations. 

Favreuil. — In  the  afternoon  of  the  same  day  the  10th 
Royal  Fusiliers  moved  up  in  support  to  their  brigade, 
passing  through  a  heavy  barrage  straight  to  Favreuil. 
Five  hundred  yards  west  of  the  village  they  found  the 
13th  King's  Royal  Rifle  Corps  held  up  by  a  heavy  machine- 
gun  fire.  The  battalion  were  intended  to  attack  from  the 
west  and  north-west,  but  under  the  circumstances  such 
action  would  have  been  costly  folly.  The  battalion 
accordingly  moved  southward,  and  achieving  a  position 
from  which  they  enfiladed  the  enemy  lying  on  the  west  of 
the  village,  caused  them  to  surrender.  The  orchard  and 
north-west  corner  of  the  village  were  still  strongly  held 
with  numerous  machine  guns.  When  darkness  fell  a 
concerted  attempt  was  made  to  reduce  these  positions. 
Second  Lieutenant  C.  W.  N.  Woodcock  with  a  platoon 
moved  along  the  northern  edge  of  the  village.  Machine 
guns  opened  fire  upon  them  from  the  orchard,  and  several 
were  rushed.  Another  platoon  moved  through  the  centre 
of  the  village,  and  established  contact  with  the  13th  Rifle 
Brigade  on  the  east  side.     This  platoon  also  came  under 


300     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

fire  from  the  orchard,  but  towards  midnight  the  two 
platoons  began  to  approach  each  other,  and  the  enemy 
withdrew  under  the  threat  of  envelopment.  A  gap 
between  the  13th  Rifle  Brigade,  400  yards  east  of  the 
village,  and  the  New  Zealand  Division,  was  filled  by  two 
platoons  of  A  Company,  under  Second  Lieutenant  A.  W. 
Usher.  The  village  was  completely  held  by  3  a.m.  on 
August  26th,  but  the  battalion  had  not  achieved  contact 
with  the  2nd  Division  on  the  north.  A  few  hours  later 
they  were  relieved. 

Thilloy. — The  63rd  Division  on  August  26th  attempted 
to  capture  Thilloy,  Ligny  Thilloy  and  Riencourt.  But  the 
two  brigades  devoted  to  this  attack  were  held  up  before 
the  first  two  villages,  and  in  the  renewed  attack  on  the 
following  day  the  7th  Royal  Fusiliers  advanced  with  the 
4th  Bedfords.  The  day  appeared  to  be  out  of  joint.  At 
11  a.m.  the  barrage  began,  and  was  short,  many  casualties 
being  inflicted  on  the  troops  assembled  for  attack.  The 
first  assault,  launched  with  such  handicaps,  produced 
nothing  but  further  casualties.  In  the  afternoon  another 
attack  was  delivered,  and  the  troops  penetrated  into  the 
village  of  Thilloy.  But  the  battalion  were  now  seriously 
weakened,  and  the  losses  of  officers  were  particularly 
heavy.  The  surviving  men,  being  leaderless,  at  length 
withdrew ;  and  the  battalion  were  relieved  after  a 
disastrous  day. 

Towards  Peronne. — Meanwhile  the  Royal  Fusiliers  in 
the  III.  Corps  had  been  heavily  engaged  against  a  growing 
resistance  north  of  the  Somme.  On  August  25th  the 
second  line  London  battalions  and  the  9th  and  nth  Royal 
Fusiliers  were  all  involved  in  the  attack.  Moving  from 
positions  west  of  Bronfay  Farm,  the  2/2  and  2/4  Londons 
pushed  well  forward  to  the  east  of  the  Carnoy-Suzanne 
road.  The  2/2nd  at  the  end  of  the  day  lay  astride  the 
Fricourt-Maricourt  road  east  of  Carnoy,  after  capturing 
Carre  Wood  and  an  elaborate  trench  system  ;  while  the 
2/4th  held  positions  to  the  north-east  of  Billon  Wood,  which 
they  had  captured  after  a  very  fierce  struggle.     To  the 


TERRITORIALS  CAPTURE  MARICOURT    301 

north  the  9th  Royal  Fusiliers  advanced  on  a  front  of  1,200 
yards  to  a  depth  of  about  2,000  yards,  carrying  the  line 
forward  to  the  south-western  edge  of  Fricourt.  Patrols 
were  sent  eastward  along  the  north-west  edge  of  Mametz, 
and  reported  the  village  evacuated.  Fricourt  was  also 
found  to  be  clear  of  the  enemy  at  the  same  time,  and 
the  division  advanced.  But  this  weakening  resistance  did 
not  confront  the  nth  Royal  Fusiliers,  who,  attempting 
to  capture  the  high  ground  in  front  of  Montauban,  en- 
countered a  most  stubborn  resistance,  and  were  unable  to 
capture  their  objectives.  The  struggle  was  renewed  on 
the  following  day,  and  fighting  vigorously  across  ground 
where  they  had  first  gained  their  spurs,  the  battalion 
pressed  into  Montauban. 

The  3rd  Londons  on  this  day  (August  26th)  represented 
the  Fusilier  Brigade.  Attacking  at  very  short  notice 
astride  the  Peronne  road,  the  battalion  had  gained  all 
objectives  by  9.30  a.m.  Their  final  line  lay  across  the 
western  outskirts  of  Maricourt.  B  Company,  indeed,  had 
entered  the  village,  but  had  been  forced  to  retire.  The 
village  was  attacked  and  carried  on  the  27th,  and  on  the 
following  day  the  2/2  Battalion  captured  the  German 
positions  between  Bois  d'en  Haut  and  Support  Copse, 
while  the  9th  Royal  Fusiliers,  on  their  left,  advanced  about 
2,000  yards  to  their  objectives.  Hardecourt  fell  to  them, 
and  50  prisoners  of  various  battalions  of  the  2nd  Guards 
Division  with  sixteen  machine  guns.  They  had  suffered 
heavily  from  machine-gun  fire,  but  the  capture  of  prisoners 
from  a  famous  division  was  an  inspiriting  performance. 
The  second  line  Londons  on  August  26th  received  a  note  of 
well-earned  praise  from  their  Brigadier  :  "  The  Major- 
General  commanding  the  division,  in  congratulating  you 
all,  wishes  me  to  tell  you  that  Sir  Douglas  Haig,  the  Army 
Commander,  and  the  Corps  Commander,  have  all  expressed 
the  highest  praise  for  the  way  in  which  the  brigade  is 
fighting.  For  myself,  I  cannot  say  how  proud  I  am  to  be 
in  command  of  such  a  brigade  as  the  Fusilier  Brigade." 

At  5.15  a.m.  on  August  30th  the  nth  Royal  Fusiliers 


302    ROYAL   FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

advanced  through  the  Northants.  The  preceding  day  the 
brigade  had  gone  forward  in  column  of  route,  the  leading 
companies  alone  being  in  open  formation,  and  with  little 
resistance  had  reached  the  edge  of  Combles.  But  the  nth 
Battalion  came  under  heavy  fire  and  were  held  up  at  Priez 
Farm.  By  this  time  this  battalion  had  secured  during 
August  3  officers  and  450  other  ranks  prisoners.  They 
had  received  a  letter  of  warm  congratulation  from  Sir 
Henry  Rawlinson  for  their  feat  in  crossing  the  Ancre,  and, 
indeed,  their  action  had  been  deserving  of  all  praise. 

On  August  31st  the  4th  Battalion,  who  had  moved  up  to 
positions  south-east  of  Ecoust,  attacked  eastwards.  Ten 
minutes  before  zero  the  assembly  positions  were  subjected 
to  a  heavy  shell  and  machine-gun  fire,  and  there  were 
many  casualties  ;  and  when  our  barrage  began,  five  minutes 
later,  it  missed  the  chief  obstacles  in  the  way  of  the  Royal 
Fusiliers'  advance.  As  a  consequence,  while  the  battalions 
on  both  flanks  advanced  with  little  trouble,  the  4th  Royal 
Fusiliers  were  decisively  checked  by  machine-gun  fire  from 
the  sunken  road,  about  250  yards  to  the  east.  Z  Company 
made  several  most  gallant  attempts  to  reach  these  guns, 
but  the  men  were  mown  down,  and  all  the  officers  but  one 
became  casualties.  The  tank  which  should  have  assisted 
in  coping  with  this  obstacle  caught  fire  a  few  minutes 
before  zero.  Another  tank  broke  down  actually  in  the 
road,  and  a  German  officer,  climbing  on  top  of  it,  shot  or 
took  prisoner  the  whole  of  the  crew.  A  machine-gun  nest 
in  the  south  of  Ecoust  also  devoted  too  much  attention  to 
the  battalion,  who  were  completely  held  up.  About  8  p.m. 
the  1st  Northumberland  Fusiliers  cleared  the  sunken  road 
under  a  creeping  barrage,  and  before  dawn  on  September 
1st  the  4th  Royal  Fusiliers  had  advanced  1,500  yards.  At 
6  p.m.  on  the  same  day,  with  only  eight  casualties,  the 
battalion  carried  the  line  still  further,  clearing  the  sunken 
road  midway  between  Longatte  and  Noreuil.  In  this 
operation  70  prisoners  and  several  machine  guns  and  trench 
mortars  were  captured. 

As  a  result  of  the  fighting  since  August  8th,  the  enemy 


ADVANCE  OF  SEPTEMBER  3RD  303 

had  been  beaten  out  of  his  positions  over  a  great  stretch 
of  front.     "  During  the  night  of  September  2nd— 3rd  he 
fell  back  rapidly  on  the  whole  front  of  the  Third  Army. 
By  the  end  of  the  day  he  had  taken  up  positions  along  the 
general  line  of  the  Canal  du  Nord  from  Peronne  to  Ytres, 
and  thence  east  of  Hermies,  Inchy  en  Artois  and  Ecourt 
St.  Quentin  to  the  Sensee  east  of  Lecluse."*     The  retire- 
ment was  promptly  followed  up.     At  5.20  a.m.  on  Sep- 
tember 3rd  the  17th  Royal  Fusiliers  began  to  advance. 
Only  two  hours  before,  they  had  reached  the  position, 
relieving  another  battalion,  on  a  line  about  1,000  yards 
east   of   Vaux-Vraucourt.     With   A   Company    (Captain 
Ash  well)  on  the  right  and  B  (Captain  Sword)  on  the  left, 
the  battalion  rapidly  advanced  to  the  first  objective,  about 
5,000  yards  from  their  starting  point,   and  they  were 
ordered  to  resume  their  progress  at  1  p.m.     Major  Smith, 
the  adjutant,  who  rode  forward  to  give  final  instructions, 
could  not  locate  the  battalion  at  first ;    and  they  did  not 
resume  the  advance  until  2.30  p.m.     Doignies  was  soon 
passed,  but  about  1,000  yards  to  the  east  they  were  held 
up  by  machine-gun  fire  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Boursies. 
At  this  point  two  platoons  of  C  Company  were  sent  up  to 
make  good  the  casualties  in  B  Company.     At  6.20  p.m. 
the  advance  was  resumed  with  the  help  of  artillery,  and 
Demicourt  was  taken.     At  6.55  p.m.  positions  were  taken 
up  covering  Demicourt  and  Boursies,  which  B  Company 
occupied.     At  the  latter  village  they  were  in  touch  with 
the  Guards,  and  on  the  left  they  were  in  contact  with  the 
South    Staffords.     The    battalion    had    been    advancing 
almost  continuously  for  over  thirteen  hours,  prepared  for 
anything,  in  verification  of  an  inference  of  the  high  com- 
mand.    In  this  period  they  had  covered  some  9,500  yards,| 
at  a  total  cost  of  52  casualties. 

The  next  day  the  13th  Royal  Fusiliers  carried  on  the 

*  Despatch. 

f  The  difficulty  of  representing  most  movements  on  a  map,  except  of 
large  scale,  and  the  striking  ease  with  which  this  movement  can  be 
shown  on  a  map  of  almost  any  reasonable  scale,  shows  sufficiently  how 
times  were  changing. 


304     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

advance  a  little  to  the  south,  but  their  progress  was  more 
chequered,  and  at  the  end  of  the  day  they  encountered  a 
firm  resistance.  They  set  out  at  7  a.m.  from  near  Hermies, 
with  the  purpose  of  taking  up  a  line  east  of  Havrincourt. 
But  they  had  only  advanced  200  yards  before  they  were 
held  up  by  machine-gun  and  trench-mortar  fire  from  the 
right  flank.  But  the  trench  mortars  were  put  out  of 
action  and  the  machine  guns  compelled  to  retire,  and  the 
advance  was  continued.  The  Canal  du  Nord  runs  roughly 
parallel  to  the  railway  about  1,100  yards  south  of  Hermies, 
and  then  turns  northward  about  2,000  yards  east  of  the 
village.  Near  the  bend,  on  the  southern  side,  is  the 
north-western  extension  of  Havrincourt  Wood.  At  the 
west  corner  of  the  wood  a  platoon  crossed  the  canal  to 
the  south.  The  1/1  Herts,  who  were  on  the  right  of  the 
13th  Battalion,  were  at  this  point  500  yards  in  the  rear  ; 
and  the  Royal  Fusiliers  were  suffering  from  enfilade  fire 
from  this  quarter.  After  a  halt  to  enable  the  Herts  to 
come  up  the  advance  was  resumed  due  eastward,  and 
Lewis  guns  were  established  on  Yorkshire  Bank.  The 
right  were  now  once  more  out  of  touch,  and  Germans 
could  be  seen  moving  up  in  the  wood  at  the  bend  of  the 
canal.  The  right  company  were  then  withdrawn  to  the 
tunnel  under  the  canal  a  little  to  the  west.  On  the  left 
the  line  was  established  in  front  of  Square  Copse,  and  in 
the  evening  touch  was  achieved  with  the  2nd  Division. 
The  battalion  had  covered  about  2,500  yards  in  their 
advance,  but  under  greater  difficulties  than  had  faced  the 
17th  Battalion.  The  next  two  days  patrols  were  pushed 
out  eastward,  and  the  position  consolidated  in  depth  at 
the  same  time  that  it  was  being  advanced. 

But  the  enemy  resistance  had  now  definitely  hardened 
on  this  part  of  the  front,  and  the  23rd  Royal  Fusiliers, 
attacking  east  of  Doignies  (September  7th) ,  suffered  very 
heavily.  The  Canal  du  Nord,  with  the  approaches  swept 
by  enemy  fire,  formed  a  formidable  line  of  resistance. 
Below,  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Havrincourt,  the  main 
line  was  the  Hindenburg  system ;    and  at  this  time  the 


EPEHY-PEZIERES,   SEPTEMBER   ioth      305 

Germans  held  very  strong  positions,  in  advance  of  the 
main  trench  system,  at  Havrincourt  and  Epehy.  Before 
the  attack  on  the  Hindenburg  line  these  outliers  had  to 
be  taken.  It  fell  to  the  Royal  Fusiliers  to  put  the  strength 
of  one  of  these  outposts  to  the  test. 

Epehy. — Epehy-Pezieres  forms  topographically  not 
two,  but  one  feature,  and  against  this  position  the  Fusilier 
Brigade  of  the  58th  Division  advanced  on  September  ioth. 
The  battalions  were  all  weak,  the  2/2  Londons  mustering 
only  17  officers  and  481  other  ranks  before  the  battle. 
The  2/2nd  and  3rd  Londons  advanced  to  the  attack  at 
5.15  a.m.  The  objective  of  both  battalions  was  the  east 
of  the  two  villages.  Pezieres  was  to  be  taken  by  the 
2/2nd,  and  Epehy  by  the  3rd  Londons.  The  German 
line  in  this  sector  had  been  heavily  reinforced ;  and  the 
Alpine  Corps,  a  body  of  formidable  troops,  held  the 
objectives  of  the  Fusiliers'  attack.  The  advance  began 
in  a  heavy  storm  of  driving  rain  ;  and,  despite  the  stubborn 
resistance,  the  objective  was  gained  by  both  battalions. 
But  such  positions  could  not  be  reduced  in  face  of  the 
resistance  of  organised  garrisons  without  a  much  heavier 
treatment  by  artillery  and  the  assistance  of  tanks.  Neither 
Epehy  nor  Pezieres  was  thoroughly  mopped  up,  and  as  a 
consequence  when  the  counter-attack  came  the  attacking 
companies  of  the  2/2  Londons  found  themselves  sur- 
rounded. The  men  had  to  fight  their  way  back.  They 
retired  on  Tottenham  Post,  in  the  north-western  outskirts 
of  Pezieres,  with  a  loss  of  8  officers  and  164  other  ranks. 
The  3rd  Londons  were  also  compelled  to  abandon  their 
objective.  They  had  suffered  heavily  in  the  advance 
from  fire  directed  from  the  trenches  south  of  Epehy. 
in  the  afternoon  the  commanding  officer  led  a  bombing 
attack  on  these  trenches  and  succeeded  in  turning  the 
Germans  out.  The  remnants  of  A  and  C  Companies  who, 
under  Captain  S.  W.  Johnson,  had  held  positions  on  the 
railway  embankment  for  some  time,  were  forced  back  by 
the  counter-attack  from  the  railway  embankment  to  a 
position  slightly  behind  the  assembly  position.     The  3rd 

F.  X 


306     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

Londons  lost  only  7  officers  and  8y  other  ranks,  a  suffici- 
ently heavy  casualty  list  for  an  unsuccessful  action,  but 
not  half  the  loss  of  the  sister  battalion.  The  2/4  Londons, 
who  had  been  in  support  and  were  occupied  in  mopping 
up,  took  80  prisoners,  twenty  machine  guns,  and  three 
anti-tank  guns.  Owing  to  the  difficulty  of  replacing  the 
casualties,  the  2/4th  were  amalgamated  with  the  2/2nd 
on  September  12th. 

On  September  12th  Trescault  and  Havrincourt  were 
taken,  and  the  24th  Royal  Fusiliers  became  involved  in 
the  2nd  Division's  attack  near  Mceuvres.  An  attempt 
by  the  10th  Royal  Fusiliers  to  capture  the  Bilhen  Chapel 
wood  switch  on  the  14th  led  to  one  of  the  most  protracted 
bitter  and  evenly  contested  actions  of  this  phase.  For 
the  next  few  days  the  troops  were  rested  and  exercised 
in  preparation  for  the  larger  action  against  the  approaches 
to  the  Hindenburg  system. 

Battle  of  Epehy. — At  5.20  on  the  morning  of  Sep- 
tember 1 8th  the  Fourth  and  Third  Armies  struck  on  a 
front  of  about  seventeen  miles  from  Holnon  to  Gouzeau- 
court.  North  of  the  main  attack  the  13th  Royal  Fusiliers 
were  engaged  on  this  day  in  one  of  those  actions  that 
recurred  almost  to  the  very  end  of  the  war.  The  assault 
was  launched  in  a  rain  storm,  and  the  battalion  found 
themselves  held  up  by  a  strong  belt  of  wire.  The  artillery 
had  failed  to  destroy  it,  and  there  were  several  bombing 
blocks  which  had  escaped  untouched.  No  headway 
could  be  made,  although  the  battalion  three  times  attacked. 
After  this  the  attempts  ceased,  and  the  battalion  retired 
to  their  original  positions. 

A  few  miles  farther  north  the  4th  Battalion  were  heavily 
attacked  by  the  enemy.  At  3.30  p.m.  a  bombardment 
of  the  battery  area  began,  and  three-quarters  of  an  hour 
later  the  front  line  and  headquarters  came  unc'er  an 
intense  barrage.  At  5  p.m.  the  Germans  attacked  and 
succeeded  in  penetrating  the  battalion  front  in  three 
places,  pushing  vigorously  along  the  sunken  road  and 
railway  leading  into  Havrincourt.     Captain  A.  J.  Lord, 


SECOND  ATTACK  ON  EPEHY-PEZIERES  307 

D.S.O.,  M.C.,  and  Captain  Mabbot,  M.C.,  on  the  right  and 
left  fronts  respectively,  counter-attacked,  drove  the 
enemy  out  and  completely  re-established  the  original 
front  line.  Captains  Smith  and  Howard,  support  and 
reserve,  threw  the  Germans  back  from  the  exposed  left 
flank  which  they  had  penetrated.  Seventy  prisoners  and 
five  machine  guns  were  captured.  Second  Lieutenant  E. 
Twigg  and  19  other  ranks  were  killed,  and  there  were  52 
other  casualties  ;  but  the  honours  of  this  small  engage- 
ment remained  in  the  hands  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers. 

In  the  main  attack  the  two  London  battalions  again 
moved  against  Epehy-Pezieres.  The  2/2  Londons  were  on 
the  left  and  the  3rd  Londons  on  the  right.  Despite  the 
bad  weather  and  the  most  obstinate  resistance,  the  two 
battalions  made  excellent  progress,  and  by  10.20  a.m. 
had  cleared  Pezieres  all  but  one  post.  The  2/2  Londons 
found  the  second  stage  of  the  attack  more  difficult.  They 
had  to  cross  the  tangle  of  trenches  north-west  of  Pezieres, 
and  very  little  impression  could  be  made  upon  Poplar 
Trench.  This  trench  threw  a  roughly  semicircular  loop 
over  the  ridge  above  Catelet  Valley,  on  the  road  leading 
north-west  from  Epehy.  At  9  p.m.  Captain  White- 
head, M.C.,  attacked  it  with  all  the  force  available,  but 
was  only  able  to  establish  three  posts  on  the  road  below  the 
trench.  It  was  attacked  again  at  2  a.m.  and  6  a.m.  on 
September  19th,  and  a  block  was  established  about  half- 
way up  the  trench.  Another  attack  at  11  a.m.  made  but 
slow  progress.  At  3  p.m.  a  platoon  under  Second 
Lieutenant  A.  K.  Chesterton  reinforced  Captain  White- 
head's party  and  did  good  work,  but  it  was  not  until 
7  p.m.  that  the  whole  of  the  trench  had  been  cleared  and 
touch  obtained  with  the  brigade  on  the  right.  Every 
yard  had  been  fiercely  contested,  and  it  says  much  for 
the  2/2  Londons  that  their  persistence  at  length  wore  out 
a  famous  German  unit.  Meanwhile  the  3rd  Londons  had 
the  task  of  reducing  the  strong  points  in  Pezieres.  Their 
task  was  made  more  difficult  by  the  successful  resistance 
of  the  Alpine  Corps  in  Epehy.     Fisher's  Keep,  one  of  the 

x  2 


308     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

objectives  of  the  3rd  Londons,  held  out  until  7.45  p.m., 
when  only  17  unwounded  men  remained  of  the  original 
garrison  of  3  officers  and  45  men.  On  September  19th 
No.  1  Company  held  four  of  the  enemy  posts,  and  No.  2 
had  a  grip  on  the  railway  cutting  east  of  the  village. 

The  9th  Royal  Fusiliers  moved  due  east  from  the  rail- 
way south  of  Epehy  and  north  of  Ronssoy  to  their  final 
objective,  about  1,500  yards  ahead.  The  battalion  on 
the  left  lost  direction,  and  when  the  9th  Royal  Fusiliers 
had  reached  their  final  objective,  their  flanks  were  in  the 
air.  On  the  right  they  had  been  in  touch  at  the  first  two 
objectives,  but  not  at  the  final  one  ;  and  the  resistance  in 
Epehy  disturbed  the  day's  plan.  At  the  end  of  the  day 
the  battalion  dug  in  on  their  objectives  with  Lewis  guns 
protecting  their  flanks.  They  had  captured  1  officer 
and  65  other  ranks  from  the  Alpine  Corps  and  1st  Guard 
Grenadier  Regiment  with  seven  machine  guns.  Captain 
W.  E.  Bott  and  Second  Lieutenant  G.  S.  Lowe,  killed, 
were  among  the  113  casualties.  On  September  21st  the 
9th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  again  called  upon  to  attack  in  an 
endeavour  to  secure  the  final  objectives  of  the  18th  ;  but, 
despite  several  gallant  attempts,  little  headway  could  be 
made,  and  the  battalion  lost  very  heavily.  Eleven 
officers  were  lost,  three,  Second  Lieutenants  F.  C.  L. 
Harrup,  M.C.,  V.  H.  Isaacs  and  B.  Spence,  being  killed. 
These  were  very  important  losses,  and,  with  the  270  other 
ranks  casualties,  badly  weakened  the  battalion. 

Hard  fighting  was  the  lot  of  all  these  units  in  this  battle, 
but,  for  the  complexus  of  difficulties  involved,  the  nth 
Royal  Fusiliers'  role  must  have  been  almost  unique.  The 
R.  W.  Rents,  attacking  with  the  54th  Brigade,  were  to 
capture  and  hold  a  line  through  the  eastern  outskirts  of 
Ronssoy.  The  Bedfords  were  to  pass  through  them  and 
establish  a  line  at  the  junction  of  the  Bellicourt  and  Guil- 
lemont  (farm)  roads.  The  Northants  on  the  left  and  the 
nth  Royal  Fusiliers  on  the  right  had  then  to  form  up 
and  attack  northwards,  at  right  angles  to  the  main  line  of 
advance,  with  May  and  Lempire  among  their  objectives. 


ELEVENTH   BATTALION'S   HARD   TASK    309 

By  7.30  a.m.  (September  18th)  the  nth  Battalion  were 
formed  up.  This  alone  was  no  slight  matter  under  the 
circumstances.  In  the  fog  the  attacking  lines  of  the  three 
battalions  became  considerably  mixed.  Despite  the 
heavy  machine-gun  fire  about  Ronssoy,  Captain  G.  E. 
Cornaby  exposed  himself  freely  in  order  to  organise  his 
company ;  and  this  done,  he  led  them  forward  under  the 
barrage  to  almost  the  whole  of  their  objectives.  Captain 
Hornfeck  with  Captain  Cornaby  "  led  his  men  forward, 
and,  in  spite  of  his  exposed  right  flank  and  heavy  machine- 
gun  and  point-blank  artillery  fire  from  that  direction, 
succeeded  in  gaining  his  objective,  capturing  two  field 
guns  and  several  trench  mortars.  On  Captain  Cornaby 
becoming  a  casualty  he  took  command  in  this  area, 
reorganised  round  the  principal  strong  points  and  drove 
off  two  counter-attacks."*  Some  of  the  men  moved 
throughout  the  morning  to  the  whistle  of  the  sergeant- 
major  as  though  in  extended  order  drill.  To  complete 
the  anomaly,  a  German  prisoner,  eating  black  bread  and 
sausage,  insisted  on  following  the  sergeant-major,  and, 
all  threats  notwithstanding,  cheerfully  continued  to  do  so. 
But,  despite  all  gallantry  and  skill,  the  troops  did  not  reach 
their  final  objectives,  and  when  the  55th  Brigade  attacked 
through  them  they,  too,  could  make  very  little  headway. 
The  enemy's  resistance  on  the  east  of  Basse  Boulogne  and 
in  Lempire  could  not  be  overcome. 

In  order  to  complete  the  capture  of  the  objectives  of 
September  18th,  the  attack  was  resumed  at  5.20  a.m. 
on  the  21st,  the  nth  Royal  Fusiliers  being  in  reserve. 
But  about  midday  two  companies,  organised  as  one,  were 
attached  to  the  Bedfords,  and  they  were  sent  forward 
against  Duncan  Post  at  12.15  am-  on  the  22nd.  There 
was  a  little  moonlight,  but  not  much,  and  the  company, 
losing  direction,  captured  Cat  Post  (500  yards  farther 
south)  and  some  trench  elements,  sending  back  20 
prisoners.  There  was  thus  a  gap  on  their  left  flank. 
About  1  p.m.  the  Bedfords  carried  Duncan  Post  with  a 

*  Both  of  these  officers  gained  the  M.C. 


310    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

number  of  prisoners.  About  ioo  Germans  attempted 
to  escape  eastwards,  and  the  attached  Fusiliers  gave 
chase.  In  the  midst  of  this  incident  our  barrage  came 
down  to  break  up  a  counter-attack  farther  north,  and  some 
of  the  Fusiliers  were  caught  in  it.  Somehow  out  of  the 
confusion  a  solid  achievement  emerged,  and  the  ground 
was  cleared  for  the  general  offensive. 


'C.  £   £t*£/j 


'9'9 


Major-General  Sir  Charles  Townshend,  K.C.B.,  D.S.O.,  M.P. 


CHAPTER  XVII 

THE   HUNDRED   DAYS — LAST   BATTLES 

The  battles  which  began  with  the  Franco-American 
attack  north  of  Verdun  on  September  26th  logically 
opened  a  new  and  the  last  phase  of  the  war.  The  general 
offensive  consisted  of  a  series  of  converging  attacks  which 
'  depended  in  a  peculiarly  large  degree  upon  the  British 
attack  in  the  centre.  It  was  here  that  the  enemy's  defences 
were  most  highly  organised.  If  these  were  broken,  the 
threat  directed  at  his  vital  systems  of  lateral  communica- 
tion would  of  necessity  react  upon  his  defence  elsewhere."* 
Yet  it  must  be  evident  that  the  British  armies  entered 
upon  this  critical  phase  weary  and  weakened  from  the 
almost  continual  fighting  from  August  8th.  The  engage- 
ments fought,  now  here,  now  there,  by  the  various  bat- 
talions of  the  Royal  Fusiliers,  under  great  stress  and  with 
heavy  casualties,  are  in  their  way  a  fairly  just  indication 
of  the  state  of  the  Army  generally.  But  when  Sir 
Douglas  Haig  decided  to  embark  upon  the  new  offen- 
sive against  a  defensive  system  of  extraordinary  strength, 
he  recognised  that  never  had  the  morale  of  the  British 
troops  been  higher.  This  confidence  had  been  fed  by  a 
long  series  of  victories,  and  as  the  last  phase  developed 
it  was  inflamed  by  the  successive  defection  of  Germany's 
allies  and  the  German  efforts  to  obtain  an  armistice. 

But  it  must  not  be  thought  that  the  Germans  did  not 
fight  very  valiantly  through  the  greater  part  of  this  period, 
though  the  resistance  was  "  patchy."  Almost  to  the  end 
some  of  the  Royal  Fusilier  battalions  had  to  make  their 
way  against  very  heavy  righting  ;  and  it  is  part  of  the 
difficulty  of  describing  these  last  days  that  in  some  places 

*  Despatch. 


312     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

the  battalions  covered  great  distances  without  meeting 
any  real  resistance  over  ground  that  seemed  to  offer  every 
evidence  of  enforced  and  hasty  retreat,  through  scenes  and 
experiences  entirely  novel,  while  others  fought  numerous 
heavy  battles,  and  could  make  little  headway  against  the 
defensive. 

September  27th. — The  British  offensive  on  the  St. 
Quentin-Cambrai  front  was  not  launched  as  one  great 
attack.  The  defence  was  more  formidable  on  the  southern 
half  of  the  front,  and  the  British  artillery  on  this  sector 
laboured  under  a  handicap  until  the  Hindenburg  line  and 
the  approaches  to  Cambrai  had  been  won.  In  order  to 
assist  the  Fourth  Army  attack,  Sir  Douglas  Haig,  therefore, 
struck  first  between  Gouzeaucourt  and  Sauchy-Lestree 
on  September  27th.  On  the  extreme  north  of  the  front  of 
attack  the  2nd  Londons,  who  on  the  preceding  night  had 
assembled  midway  between  Villers-lez-Cagincourt  and 
Baralle,  advanced  to  the  canal  and  waited  there  while  the 
Canadians  cleared  up  Marquion.  They  then  crossed  the 
canal,  headed  by  D  Company  under  Captain  D.  Sloan, 
moved  through  the  village  and  advanced  to  the  first 
objective.  D  Company  encountered  some  resistance  on 
the  canal  line,  and  B,  under  Captain  W.  T.  Telford,  M.C., 
took  their  section  of  the  line  at  the  double.  At  3.28  p.m. 
the  advance  was  resumed  behind  a  creeping  barrage.  A 
Company,  on  the  right,  went  forward  as  steadily  as  if  on 
parade,  and  their  first  prisoners  were  a  German  doctor  and 
his  Aid  Post  staff.  Sauchy-Lestree  was  captured  with 
little  difficulty,  a  company  of  the  London  Rifle  Brigade 
clearing  it  up  while  the  Londons  advanced.  Part  of 
Sauchy-Cauchy  was  within  the  battalion's  boundaries,  and 
the  troops  wheeled  left  to  deal  with  it.  A  cleared  Cemetery 
Wood,  and  their  patrols  found  numbers  of  Germans  in  dug- 
outs between  it  and  Oisy  le  Verger.  Some  machine-gun 
nests  north  of  the  wood  resisted  four  attacks,  but  suc- 
cumbed to  the  fifth,  and  by  3  a.m.  on  the  28th  the  Londons 
were  on  the  final  objective  after  a  very  brilliant  advance. 
A  company  (C)  continued  the  advance  towards  Palluel  at 


CAPTURE  OF  RIBECOURT,  SEPTEMBER  27TH    313 

10.30  the  following  day  and  established  posts  between 
the  village  and  the  Bois  de  Quesnoy  as  directed.  Besides 
much  materiel  they  had  captured  6  officers  and  454  other 
ranks,  and  their  total  casualties  were  only  71.  Mean- 
while the  4th  Londons  assisted  in  clearing  up  the  western 
side  of  the  canal  up  to  the  railway  south-east  of 
Palluel. 

Some  miles  to  the  south  the  7th  Battalion  had  to  attack 
over  familiar  ground.  Assembling  on  the  railway  west  of 
Moeuvres,  the  battalion  moved  forward  at  zero  (5.20  a.m.) 
and  crossed  the  canal  without  much  opposition  ;  but  on 
the  spur  south-west  of  Bourbon  Wood,  the  final  objective, 
the  Fusiliers  had  to  crush  by  rifle  and  machine-gun  fire  an 
attempt  to  hold  them  up.  The  battalion  quickly  took  the 
trench  on  the  spur,  and  reorganised  before  the  188th 
Brigade  passed  through.  Second  Lieutenant  R.  H. 
Righton  was  killed  by  a  shell  in  the  trench  ;  but  the 
casualties  were  few,  and  the  battalion  had  captured  a  field 
gun,  10  light  and  10  heavy  machine  guns,  and  4  officers 
and  400  other  ranks.  They  remained  in  the  trench  during 
the  night. 

The  Royal  Fusilier  battalions  of  the  2nd  Division  were 
not  engaged  this  day,  but  the  17th  Battalion,  resting  at  a 
place  where  they  had  stood  after  the  German  counter- 
attack in  1917,  Lock  7,  suffered  32  casualties  from  a 
German  aeroplane  which  secured  three  direct  hits.  The 
4th  Royal  Fusiliers  carried  out  a  businesslike  advance  to 
Ribecourt.  Moving  off  in  artillery  formation  behind  the 
1st  Northumberland  Fusiliers  and  13th  King's  Liverpools 
at  8.20  a.m.,  the  battalion's  progress  was  uneventful  until 
the  leading  companies  found  themselves  held  up  by  a 
machine-gun  nest  about  800  yards  west  of  the  southern 
end  of  Ribecourt.  The  two  support  companies  then  closed 
up,  and  the  four  companies,  advancing  in  line,  surrounded 
and  captured  the  post.  The  battalion  were  again  checked 
at  the  western  edge  of  Ribecourt ;  but  at  10.30  they  had 
penetrated  into  the  village,  and  in  another  hour  they  had 
crushed  all  resistance  and   had  begun  to  consolidate  on 


314    ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

the  eastern  edge  of  the  village.     Among  their  captures  on 
this  day  was  a  6-inch  howitzer. 

The  Canal  Crossing. — On  September  28th  the  17th 
Royal  Fusiliers  found  themselves  faced  with  a  task  calling 
for    every    spark    of    their    daring    and    resource.     Two 
companies,  C  and  D,  had  been  directed  after  dark  on  the 
preceding  day  to  form  a  defensive  flank  on  the  left  of  the 
brigade,  and  were  ordered  to  attack  on  the  28th  with  the 
high  ground  across  the  canal,  north-east  of  Noyelles,  as 
their  final  objective.     By  8.30  a.m.  Noyelles  had  been 
captured  and  the  River  Scheldt  crossed.     But  the  resist- 
ance stiffened  very  considerably  at  the  canal  crossings, 
and  the  whole  of  the  division  were    held  up.     At  this 
juncture  it  was  decided  to  make  an  attempt  to  put  a 
company  of  the  17th  Royal  Fusiliers  across  the  canal  by 
sending  them  down  the  river  on  a  raft  to  the  point  where 
it  is  crossed  by  the  canal.     The  plan  was  to  raft  the 
company  under  the  canal  arches,  and  then  land  and  form 
up  on  the  east  of  the  canal.     D  Company  with  a  platoon 
of   B    were   ordered   to   undertake    the   task.      Second 
Lieutenant  F.  G.  Waters  was  ordered  to  reconnoitre  the 
river  with  a  view  to  the  practicability  of  the  operation. 
This  young  officer  "  swam  the  Scheldt  in  broad  daylight 
with  a  rope  in  order  to  get  a  raft  across  for  an  attack  to 
be  made  on  the  enemy  ;  and  reconnoitred  the  ground  on 
the  east  side  with  the  enemy  only  fifty  yards  away.     He 
was  in  charge  of  the  leading  wave  of  the  attack,  and  led  his 
men  with  great  courage  and  determination  against  two 
machine  guns,  killing  both  crews.     Later,  when  the  enemy 
counter-attacked,  he  rallied  his  men  and  led  them  forward, 
remaining  at  duty  after  being  wounded."  *     D  Company 
started  to  cross  at  5.15  p.m.,  but  the  low  clearance  under- 
neath the  arches  proved  too  great  a  handicap  ;  and  the 
bulk  of  the  men  crossed  by  the  lock  bridges  in  single  file 
under  heavy  fire.     It  is  one  of  the  odd  chances  of  war  that 
these  men,  silhouetted  against  the  skyline,  got  across  with 
extremely  few  casualties.     But  their  adventures  on  the 

*  Official  account.     He  was  granted  the  M.C. 


ELEVENTH  BATTALION  ENTER  VENDHUILE    315 

other  side  speedily  reduced  their  numbers.     At  3  a.m.  on 
September  29th  the  Germans  counter-attacked  the  King's 
Own,  on  the  right,  driving  them  back  upon  the  17th 
Royal  Fusiliers.     There  was  much  confusion,  and  many 
fell  back  to  the  west  side  of  the  canal.     Captain  Spencer, 
M.M.,  assisted  by  Captains  Sword  and  Panting  (CO.  of 
D  Company)  rallied  the  men  and  restored  the  situation. 
But  the  machine-gun  fire  was  intense  and  the  casualties 
heavy.     On  the  morning  of  the  29th  they  were  ordered 
to  take  up  a  position  between  Paris  Copse  and  Range 
Wood,  towards  the  outskirts  of  Cambrai.     They  advanced 
beyond  this  line.     The  CO.  and  Captain  Spencer  (Adju- 
tant) went  forward  to  bring  them  back  and  organise  them 
in  depth.     This  was  done,   and  C  Company  formed  a 
defensive  flank   on   the  right  until  the  battalion  were 
relieved  a  little  before  midnight.     The  establishment  of 
this  bridge-head,  so  necessary  to  the  division,  and  depend- 
ing upon  multiplied  acts  of  gallantry,  cost  the  battalion 
the  loss  of  249  officers  and  men. 

Vendhuile. — But  by  this  time  the  Fourth  Army  attack 
had  been  launched,  and  the  northern  front  was  being 
revolutionised.  The  nth  Royal  Fusiliers  were  on  the 
left  of  the  Fourth  Army  line,  and,  forming  up  at  Sart 
Farm,  about  500  yards  south-east  of  the  Lempire,  advanced 
to  their  objective,  the  trench  line  on  the  outskirts  of 
Vendhuile.  To  this  position  they  held  throughout  the  day 
(29th),  despite  the  unwelcome  attentions  of  German 
artillery  and  some  short  firing  of  our  own  guns.  As  the 
enemy  were  observed  to  be  withdrawing  on  the  following 
day,  the  nth  went  forward  to  clear  the  village.  Very 
brisk  fighting  took  place  before  this  was  accomplished, 
but  it  had  been  completed  when  the  Bedfords  arrived  to 
help.  The  battalion  were  relieved  that  night,  and  with 
the  brigade  left  the  line  for  a  well-earned  rest. 

Flanders. — Two  battalions  of  the  regiment  were  also 
involved  in  the  fourth  of  the  converging  attacks  men- 
tioned by  Sir  Douglas  Haig,  the  advance  in  Flanders. 
The  2nd  Battalion  had  left  the  Lys  area  on  September  27th, 


316     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

and  at  5.30  the  next  morning  moved  forward  from  the 
position  of  assembly  east  of  Ypres  in  support  of  the  Dub- 
lins.  W  and  X  Companies  formed  the  first  wave,  and, 
passing  through  the  Lancashires  at  7.8  a.m.,  moved  after 
the  Dublins.  On  the  Stirling  Castle  ridge  considerable 
opposition  was  encountered  from  pill-boxes  and  from  the 
short  firing  of  our  own  artillery  ;  and  the  Royal  Fusiliers 
became  involved  in  the  firing  line.  Several  pill-boxes  were 
smartly  cleared,  forty  prisoners  being  taken  from  one  and 
the  garrison  of  another,  who  refused  to  come  out,  being 
put  out  of  action.  After  passing  through  the  Dublins,  the 
first  opposition  was  encountered  from  a  trench  about 
200  yards  north  of  Veldhoek.  W  Company  put  an  end 
to  the  resistance,  capturing  15  prisoners. 

A  number  of  pill-boxes  were  rushed  at  this  point,  and 
the  total  of  prisoners  began  to  swell.  At  9.45  a.m.  the 
battalion  rushed  the  line  Polderhoek  Ridge-Cameron 
House,  and  three-quarters  of  an  hour  later  they  crossed 
the  Menin  road  and  captured  Gheluvelt.  The  positions 
which  had  resisted  so  obstinately  all  the  earlier  assaults 
now  began  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  the  troops  like  ripe 
fruit.  On  this  day  the  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  made  a 
striking  advance,  suffered  very  few  casualties,  and  cap- 
tured about  300  prisoners,  many  machine  guns,  and  a 
complete  battery  of  5.9's.  That  night  they  formed  a 
defensive  flank  to  the  88th  Brigade,  a  little  to  the  east  of 
Hooge.  The  advance  was  resumed  the  following  morning, 
the  Royal  Fusiliers  being  echeloned  on  the  left  rear  of  the 
88th  Brigade.  In  spite  of  heavy  machine-gun  fire  the 
ridge  across  the  Menin  road,  which  the  Becelaere  road 
follows,  was  captured  and  held.  A  line  was  established 
on  this  ridge  for  about  1,000  yards  north  of  the  road,  and 
on  this  the  battalion  remained  until  night  under  per- 
sistent sniping,  machine-gun  and  shell  fire.  Up  to  this 
time  they  had  only  had  47  casualties  in  the  two  days' 
fighting. 

On  October  1st  they  relieved  the  Lancashires  at  about 
the  centre  of  the  road  between  Gheluwe  and  Dadizeele ; 


ADVANCE  IN  FLANDERS,  SEPT.  28TH-29TH    317 

and  on  the  following  morning  they  attempted  to  advance 
with  the  88th  Brigade  to  the  capture  of  Gheluwe.  This 
was  the  hardest  day's  fighting  yet  experienced  in  the  new 
offensive,  and  despite  the  utmost  gallantry  neither  the 
Royal  Fusiliers  nor  the  troops  on  their  right  could  make 
much  headway.  If  the  advance  had  been  continued  at 
the  pace  of  the  first  two  days,  Lille  would  have  been  out- 
flanked. The  defence  was  accordingly  strengthened  on 
this  sector,  and  the  battalion  were  relieved  at  night  after 
a  heavy  day. 

The  26th  Royal  Fusiliers  had  also  been  brought  up  to 
the  Ypres  area  for  the  offensive /and  advancing  without 
artillery  support  at  2  p.m.  (28th)  from  a  position  about 
100  yards  west  of  Canada  Tunnels,  met  with  no  resistance 
worth  speaking  of,  except  from  snipers,  for  3,000  yards. 
At  this  point  the  battalion  faced  Green  Jacket  ridge,  where 
a  stubborn  resistance  was  experienced.  On  reaching  the 
crest  they  encountered  a  heavy  fire,  and  a  counter-attack 
was  attempted  from  Dumbarton  Wood.  But  D  Company 
on  the  left  charged  down  the  slope  under  Lieutenant  H. 
Van  Der  Weyden  and  broke  up  the  German  counter- 
attack with  very  heavy  loss.  The  battalion  then  resumed 
their  advance  to  a  line  a  few  hundred  yards  east  of  Basse - 
ville  beek,  and  on  this  position  the  battalion  rested  that 
night,  D  Company  forming  a  defensive  flank  on  the  left. 
The  advance  was  resumed  on  the  following  day,  an  hour 
after  dawn,  B  and  C  Companies  passing  through  A  and  D. 
At  the  outset  many  casualties  were  suffered  from  rifle  and 
machine-gun  fire  ;  but  this  did  not  prevent  the  battalion 
reaching  their  objective,  the  road  running  north-east  from 
Houthem  to  the  Tenebrielen-Zandvoorde  road.  At  this 
stage  the  123rd  Brigade  passed  through  and  advanced 
towards  Comines,  but  they  were  beaten  back  and  retired 
through  the  124th  Brigade's  line.  The  26th  Royal 
Fusiliers  held  their  positions  that  night,  and  at  2  a.m. 
rations  came  up,  and  they  had  their  first  food  for  twenty- 
four  hours.  A  and  D  were  in  the  van  once  more  when  the 
advance  began  on  September  30th.     There  were  numerous 


318    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

small  and  fierce  encounters  as  the  battalion  moved  south- 
east, but  they  reached  their  objective,  the  railway  about 
Godshuis,  and  posts  were  pushed  out  to  the  Lys.  In  this 
very  striking  advance  of  three  days  the  battalion's  casual- 
ties only  totalled  61,  killed,  wounded  and  missing.  They 
spent  eight  more  days  in  this  area,  constantly  under  shell 
fire,  prepared  for  anything,  before  they  were  relieved. 

Towards  Cambrai. — The  7th  Royal  Fusiliers  attacked 
at  6.30  on  the  morning  of  September  30th  from  positions 
east  of  the  Proville-Mt.  St.  (Euvre  road,  while  two  com- 
panies of  the  23rd  Battalion  advanced  against  Mt.  St. 
(Euvre.  It  was  a  very  difficult  area  for  attack,  and  the 
7th  Battalion,  after  advancing  about  200  yards  with  the 
barrage,  were  held  up  by  machine-gun  fire  from  the  north 
and  the  east.  The  same  reason  accounted  for  the  non- 
success  of  A  and  B  Companies  of  the  23rd  Royal  Fusiliers. 
On  the  following  day  the  24th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  engaged 
in  much  the  same  area.  To  co-operate  with  the  attack  of 
another  division  on  Rumilly,  two  companies  of  the  24th 
Battalion  were  ordered  to  clear  the  ground  north-east  of 
the  village  and  establish  a  line  east  of  the  railway.  The 
attack  on  Rumilly  began  at  5.45  p.m.,  and  at  6.30  B  Com- 
pany, with  four  platoons  in  line,  advanced  close  up  to  the 
barrage  and  rushed  the  enemy  positions.  There  were  two 
quarries,  honeycombed  with  dug-outs.  B  were  only  3 
officers  and  67  other  ranks  strong  at  this  time,  but  they 
captured  over  200  prisoners  and  50  machine  guns,  and  the 
supporting  company  were  able  to  pass  through  and 
establish  the  fine  east  of  the  railway  with  ease.  The 
position  was  consolidated  after  a  very  striking  success. 

Le  Catelet. — On  October  4th  the  3rd  Royal  Fusiliers 
again  made  an  appearance  on  the  Western  front.  They 
had  arrived  at  Dieppe  on  July  14th,  and,  after  resting  and 
training,  had  marched  up  towards  the  battle  zone  two 
months  later  as  one  of  the  battalions  of  the  149th  Brigade, 
50th  Division.  They  marched  throughout  the  night  of 
October  3rd,  and  at  6.10  in  the  morning  of  the  following 
day  they  advanced  between   Le  Catelet  and  Vendhuile 


END  OF  FIRST  PHASE,   OCTOBER  5TH      319 

upon  the  redoubt  at  Richmond  Copse.  It  was  not  an 
advance  that  one  would  choose.  The  battalion  had  to 
move  down  the  slope  to  the  Scheldt  Canal  and  then  up  a 
valley  on  the  opposite  side.  They  were  enfiladed  on  both 
flanks,  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Vendhuile  and  from  Le 
Catelet.  But  they  reached  their  objective  at  7.30  a.m., 
and  then,  finding  themselves  practically  isolated,  had  to  go 
back  step  by  step  to  near  their  starting  point.  They  had 
swept  a  path  clean,  taking  some  300  prisoners  from 
machine-gun  teams,  so  that  the  4th  King's  Royal  Rifles 
could  advance  over  the  same  ground  in  the  evening  with 
few  casualties  ;  but  they  had  lost  very  heavily.  Lieut. - 
Colonel  E.  H.  Nicholson,  D.S.O.,  Captains  R.  T.  T.  C.  Chad- 
wick  and  J.  M.  McLaggan,  M.C.,  R.A.M.C,  Captain  and 
Adjutant  W.  T.  Humphries,  Lieutenants  E.  C.  Nepean, 
R.  A.  L.  Davies,  C.  E.  P.  Cross,  B.  J.  O'Connor  and  Second 
Lieutenant  H.  Marsh  were  killed  * ;  2  officers  were 
wounded,  and  there  were  139  other  ranks  casualties.  Few 
actions  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  had  been  more  tragic. 
Many  had  been  more  costly,  but  very  few  had  carried  the 
troops  to  their  objective  only  to  see  them  compelled  to 
fall  back  almost  to  the  starting  point  with  the  bulk  of 
their  leaders  killed. 

This  point  forms  a  natural  division  in  the  British  offen- 
sive. By  October  5th  the  first  phase  had  been  completed. 
"  The  enemy's  defence  in  the  last  and  strongest  of  his 
prepared  positions  had  been  shattered.  The  whole  of  the 
main  Hindenburg  defences  had  passed  into  our  possession, 
and  a  wide  gap  had  been  driven  through  such  near  branch 
systems  as  had  existed  behind  them.  The  effect  of  the 
victory  upon  the  subsequent  course  of  the  campaign  was 
decisive.  The  threat  to  the  enemy's  communications  was 
now  direct  and  instant,  for  nothing  but  the  natural 
obstacles  of  a  wooded  and  well-watered  countryside  lay 
between  our  armies  and  Maubeuge."  f 

*  This  appears  to  have  been  the  greatest  number  of  officers  killed  in 
any  one  action  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers. 
t  Despatch. 


320     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Second  Battle  of  Le  Cateau. — "  The  second  and 
concluding  phase  of  the  British  offensive  now  opened,  in 
which  the  Fourth  and  Third  Armies  and  the  right  of  the 
First  Army  moved  forward  with  their  left  flank  on  the 
canal  line  which  runs  from  Cambrai  to  Mons,  and  their 
right  covered  by  the  First  French  Army."  *  The  first 
stage  of  the  subsequent  fighting  began  with  the  second 
battle  of  Le  Cateau,  which  was  launched  on  October  8th. 

The  7th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  in  position  near  Niergnies 
on  the  morning  of  the  battle,  and  held  their  position  while 
the  division  secured  their  objectives.  During  the  day 
the  enemy  counter-attacked  with  tanks  ;  but  the  assault 
was  easily  beaten  off,  and  when  the  battalion  left  the  line 
at  night  they  had  only  suffered  three  casualties.  The 
23rd  Battalion  at  the  same  time  attacked  and  captured 
Forenville,  and,  despite  a  number  of  counter-attacks,  held 
it  all  day.  The  4th  Royal  Fusiliers,  attacking  a  little  to 
the  south  at  4.30  a.m.,  had  gained  their  objective  in  less 
than  two  hours,  but  were  ordered  to  assist  the  13th 
King's  in  a  further  attack  on  the  second  objective  at 
12.40  p.m.  The  battalion  pushed  ahead  on  to  the  slope 
north  of  Serainvillers,  but  were  there  held  up  by  a  con- 
verging machine-gun  and  artillery  fire.  Heavy  casualties 
were  sustained  in  this  position,  and  the  battalion  became 
too  weak  to  hold  on  to  the  forward  line.  They  retired  to 
the  line  west  of  Serainvillers,  and  at  two  o'clock  the  next 
morning  withdrew  to  Masnieres  to  enable  the  Guard  to 
take  up  the  attack.  Their  total  casualties  were  121 
officers  and  other  ranks  ;  but  against  this  they  could  set 
128  prisoners,  thirteen  machine  guns,  and  three  guns,  and 
they  had  so  heavily  treated  the  enemy  that  the  Guards 
found  very  little  opposition  when  they  advanced. 

Both  the  10th  and  13th  Royal  Fusiliers  attacked  on 
this  day  against  the  Masnieres-Beaurevoir  line.  The 
final  objective  of  the  10th  Battalion  was  the  sunken  roads 
north-west  of  Hurtebise  Farm.  The  companies  moved 
off  at  4.34  a.m.  close  to  the  barrage,  and  reached  the 

*  Despatch. 


13TH   BATTALION   ENTER  BETHENCOURT    321 

Beaurevoir  line  to  find  the  wire  not  sufficiently  cut. 
There  was  some  difficulty  in  passing  through,  and  the 
machine-gun  posts  inside  the  wire  took  advantage  of  the 
situation.  Two  platoons  of  C  Company  were  left  to  hold 
the  Beaurevoir  line,  and  the  other  companies  pressed  on 
and  captured  Bel  Aise  Farm,  with  a  considerable  number 
of  prisoners.  A  platoon  of  C  were  left  to  complete  the 
mopping  up,  and  the  battalion  advanced  to  their  final 
objectives,  which  they  reached  and  held,  despite  an  inter- 
mittent bombardment  throughout  the  day.  The  objec- 
tive of  the  13th  Battalion  was  Hurtebise  Farm,  about 
two  miles  north-west  of  Walincourt.  They  started  under 
the  handicap  of  having  to  fight  their  way  to  their  jumping- 
off  line,  as  Bel  Aise  Farm  and  part  of  the  Beaurevoir 
system  were  still  incompletely  cleared.  But  they  went 
forward  so  rapidly  that  they  were  within  half  a  mile  of 
their  objective  before  the  barrage  had  gone  sufficiently 
far  to  check  the  enemy  machine  guns  on  the  high  ground 
south  of  the  farm.  But  Nos.  2  and  3  Companies  pushed 
straight  on,  and  at  7.15  a.m.  had  begun  to  consolidate 
their  final  position.  The  enemy's  fire  compelled  them  to 
withdraw  from  the  south  and  east  sides  of  the  farm 
until  the  1/1  Herts  passed  through  to  Briseux  Wood. 

On  the  following  day  they  were  ordered  to  continue  the 
advance  in  support  of  the  1/1  Herts,  who  reached  Ligny 
en  Cambresis  without  opposition  by  8  a.m.  Within  less 
than  two  hours  the  13th  Royal  Fusiliers  had  established  a 
line  on  the  road  right  and  left  of  the  town.  They  advanced 
once  more  on  October  10th  to  establish  strong  points  on 
the  south  and  east  of  Caudry,  thereby  cutting  off  the  town 
from  the  east  while  the  1st  Essex  carried  out  a  similar 
operation  on  the  west.  The  battalion  met  with  little 
resistance,  except  from  our  own  tanks,  which  apparently 
did  not  expect  British  troops  so  far  east,  and  from  the 
barrage,  which  was  late.  No.  3  Company,  finding  no 
resistance  in  their  path,  pushed  forward,  captured  Bethen- 
court  and  threw  out  a  line  of  outposts  to  the  east.  Lieut. - 
Colonel  Smith  and  Major  Whitehead  had   in  the  mean- 


322     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

time  entered  Caudry,  where  they  were  enthusiastically 
received  by  a  large  number  of  French  people.  In  these 
three  days  the  battalion  had  covered  a  considerable 
amount  of  ground,  had  captured  200  prisoners  and  some 
twenty  machine  guns.  Their  total  casualties  were  116, 
including  Second  Lieutenant  E.  M.  Rees  killed,  Second 
Lieutenant  J.  Kinahan  died  of  wounds,  and  10  officers 
wounded.  A  few  days  later  General  H.  Bruce  Williams, 
G.O.C.  37th  Division,  inspected  the  battalion,  and  com- 
mended them  in  words  which  deserve  record  :  "  I  am 
extremely  pleased  with  the  smartness  of  the  battalion 
under  extremely  trying  conditions,  and  also  with  your 
steadiness  on  parade.  The  work  you  have  done  under  all 
circumstances  since  August  21st,  when  the  offensive 
opened,  has  been  of  the  highest  order.  At  present  you  are 
the  making  of  the  112th  Brigade.  You  have  served  under 
me  for  two  years  now,  and  have  never  failed  me  or  let  me 
down.     I  congratulate  you." 

The  1st  Battalion  attacked  on  October  nth  from  Rieux, 
but  were  caught  heavily  by  the  enemy  barrage  while 
assembling  for  attack.  This  mischance  was  but  the  begin- 
ning of  a  series  which  dogged  the  steps  of  the  battalion 
during  the  day.  The  enemy  machine-gun  fire  was  so 
sustained  that  the  battalion  were  definitely  held  up  with 
heavy  loss  before  reaching  the  first  objective.  Rieux  lies 
in  a  shallow  valley  through  which  the  river  Ereclin  flows. 
To  advance  meant  to  ascend,  and  from  the  high  ground 
the  enemy  were  prepared  for  all  such  ventures.  There 
were  no  tanks  available  ;  but  a  German  tank  came  up  as 
the  battalion  were  relieving  the  73rd  Brigade,  fired  a  few 
shots  and  sheered  off.  During  the  night  the  patrols  found 
that  the  enemy  had  retired,  and  posts  were  then  estab- 
lished on  the  high  ground  west  of  Villers  en  Cauchies  and 
St.  Aubert.  Captain  J.  H.  Jacobs,  M.C.,  Second  Lieu- 
tenant G.  B.  Wright,  and  Second  Lieutenant  R.  W.  Reed 
were  killed  on  this  occasion  ;  6  officers  were  wounded, 
and  there  were  125  other  ranks  casualties. 

Flanders. — While  the  Third  and  Fourth  Armies  were 


FURTHER   ADVANCE   IN   FLANDERS       323 

approaching  the  Selle  River  the  forces  in  Flanders  were 
preparing  for  another  attack,  and  this  was  launched  on 
October  14th.  The  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  took  part 
in  this  battle,  assembled  near  Ledeghem,  and  began  to 
advance  at  5.35  a.m.  They  went  straight  through  the 
village,  brushing  aside  the  weak  resistance  in  their  stride. 
The  small  posts  of  three  or  four  men  here  and  there  were 
quickly  rushed  through  the  smoke  screen.  A  battery  of 
field  guns  was  surprised  by  No.  9  platoon  of  Y  Company 
from  the  flank,  and  was  captured  with  ease.  The  enemy 
had  been  so  completely  taken  by  surprise  that,  though 
some  of  the  troops  carrying  the  light  bridges  for  the 
crossing  of  the  Wulfdambeek  lost  direction  in  the  smoke 
and  caused  the  left  flank  to  cross  later  than  the  right,  the 
objective,  the  ridge  lying  north-east  of  Moorseele,  at  the 
limit  of  the  field  artillery  barrage,  was  reached  and  con- 
solidated by  8  a.m.  But  when  the  advanced  posts  were 
pushed  forward  towards  the  village  of  Drie  Masten,  the 
troops  were  caught  by  machine-gun  fire  and  were  com- 
pelled to  retire  to  the  ridge,  where  they  were  shelled  by 
field  guns  firing  over  open  sights.  In  spite  of  this,  the 
battalion  stood  firm  until  support  reached  them,  and  at 
length  the  Dublins  and  Lancashires  advanced  from  the 
ridge.  The  battalion  took  150  prisoners,  and  captured 
twenty  machine  guns  and  ten  field  guns. 

The  26th  Battalion,  attacking  in  the  same  action, 
fought  a  confused  action  north-east  of  Menin.  With  the 
124th  Brigade  they  were  to  pass  through  the  122nd 
Brigade,  but  when  the  advance  began  the  fog  and  smoke 
made  it  almost  impossible  to  maintain  formation.  In 
such  circumstances  the  German  Army  of  1916  would  have 
taken  a  terrible  toll  of  the  assailants.  Fortunately,  the 
Germans  were  too  weak  and  too  badly  shaken  at  this  stage 
of  the  offensive  to  take  full  advantage.  But  in  the  ob- 
scurity small  isolated  encounters  occurred,  and  the  men, 
being  full  of  confidence,  profited  by  the  chances  as  they 
offered.  Second  Lieutenant  J.  Layfield  with  two  men 
rushed  a  field  gun,  killing  the  gunner  with  his  revolver.     A 

y  2 


324     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

battery  of  guns  suddenly  emerged  from  the  fog  at  full 
gallop.  But  they  were  brought  up  by  Lewis-gun  and  rifle 
fire  and  captured.  At  length,  after  several  hours  of  this 
over-stimulating  experience,  the  battalion  reached  Wijn- 
berg  and  were  able  to  reorganise.  A  smart  counter- 
attack pushed  the  men  out  of  the  village,  but  they  were 
rallied  by  Captain  Spottiswoode,  of  B  Company,  and  the 
village  was  retaken.  The  position  was  consolidated,  and 
on  the  following  day  patrols  were  sent  forward  from  A  and 
D  Companies  to  the  river  Lys.  Second  Lieutenant  J. 
Layfield  penetrated  to  Wevelghem,  but  his  patrol  suffered 
heavy  casualties.  Posts  were,  however,  established  some 
500  yards  ahead,  and  that  evening  the  battalion  were 
relieved.  In  the  day's  fighting  they  had  captured  about 
200  prisoners,  fifteen  field  guns,  a  number  of  machine  guns 
and  several  horses,  while  their  total  casualties  were  only  78. 
To  the  Scheldt. — The  advances  in  Flanders  and  on 
the  front  of  the  Third  and  Fourth  Armies  threatened  to 
turn  the  Lille-Douai  area  into  a  dangerous  salient ;  and 
while  the  troops  operating  on  these  fronts  frequently  had 
to  make  their  way  forward  against  the  most  bitter  resist- 
ance, those  engaged  about  Lens  found  the  obstacles 
to  their  advance  suddenly  smoothed  away.  The  3rd 
Londons  and  2/2  Londons  and  the  9th  Royal  Fusiliers  had 
been  brought  up  to  this  sector  of  the  front  before  the 
beginning  of  the  general  offensive,  and  though  the  first 
two  were  lightly  engaged  at  Loison,  east  of  Lens,  on 
October  9th,  for  the  most  part  their  advance  eastwards  to 
the  Scheldt  was  a  triumphal  progress.  The  9th  Royal  Fusi- 
liers had  taken  up  positions  east  of  Vimy  on  October  7th, 
and  finding  during  the  night  that  the  German  front 
line  had  been  evacuated,  pushed  forward  B  and  C  Com- 
panies to  occupy  the  enemy  positions.  Acheville  was 
cleared  on  the  9th,  and  the  trenches  on  the  north  up  to 
the  railway  were  occupied.  A  rearguard  counter-attacked 
at  this  point,  but  it  was  crushed  and  a  machine  gun  taken. 
The  next  few  days  saw  an  almost  uninterrupted  advance. 
There  was  a  certain  amount  of  resistance  in   Noyelle- 


NINTH  BATTALION  REACH  THE  SCHELDT     325 

Godault,  but  by  October  13th  the  battalion  had  penetrated 
to  the  west  bank  of  the  Canal  de  la  Haute  Deule.  The 
battalion  rested  for  a  few  days  at  this  stage,  and  on 
October  18th  began  to  move  eastwards  again.  It  was  not 
until  they  reached  Rumegies  that  the  battalion  came 
within  sight  of  the  heels  of  the  enemy.  At  the  St.  Amand- 
Maulde  road,  which  they  reached  on  the  same  day,  October 
21st,  they  came  under  heavy  machine-gun  fire.  Two 
platoons  of  D  Company  who  attempted  to  move  up  the 
railway  to  the  Scarpe  were  held  up  by  machine-gun  fire 
from  Flagnies.  The  battalion  were  now  in  touch  with 
the  58th  Division  on  the  left  and  the  37th  Brigade  on  the 
right ;  and  they  were  near  the  Scheldt,  where  the  enemy 
had  the  advantage  of  position  and  where  also  they  must 
perforce  make  some  attempt  to  stand. 

But  what  an  extraordinary  change  had  come  over  the 
situation  on  the  Western  front  !  The  Belgian  coast  was 
now  in  the  hands  of  the  Allies,  Lille  had  been  evacuated, 
and  the  Allies  were  now  thinking  not  so  much  of  the 
redemption  of  their  territory  as  of  the  chances  of  a  decision. 

The  Selle. — In  the  centre  of  the  British  front  the 
enemy  lay  upon  the  Selle  on  October  17th,  and  on  this 
day  the  3rd  Royal  Fusiliers  co-operated  in  the  battle 
which  opened  upon  a  front  of  ten  miles  by  an  attack 
aross  the  river  between  Benin  and  St.  Souplet,  and  after 
hard  fighting  established  themselves  near  the  Le  Cateau- 
Arbre  Guernon  road,  but  were  beaten  back  in  a  counter- 
attack in  the  afternoon.  The  battalion,  now  commanded 
by  Major  Trasenster,  were  only  11  officers  and  308  other 
ranks  strong,  and  during  the  day  they  lost  98  officers  and 
men. 

Courtrai-Bossuyt  Canal. — The  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers 
once  more  attacked  on  October  20th,  north  of  Courtrai. 
About  midday  they  moved  off  in  column  of  route  behind 
the  Dublins  until  they  were  within  a  few  hundred  yards 
of  Esscher,  when  they  deployed  in  diamond  formation  of 
platoons.  They  now  began  to  advance  almost  due  south, 
Z  and  X  being  directed  towards  the  west  to  fill  the  open 


326     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

flank  to  the  Courtrai-Bossuyt  Canal.  By  5  p.m.  these 
two  companies  had  taken  up  a  line  covering  Kappaart  and 
Krote  after  suffering  some  casualties  from  farms  on  the 
western  and  steeper  slopes  of  Banhout  Bosch.  W  Com- 
pany lay  at  St.  Louis,  in  support  to  the  Dublins  on  their  left 
rear.  On  the  following  day  the  advance  was  resumed 
through  Banhout  Bosch  ;  but,  about  half-way  through,  the 
companies  were  held  up  by  the  fire  from  a  machine  gun 
installed  in  a  farm.  About  500  yards  south  of  the  edge 
of  the  wood  Second  Lieutenant  H.  H.  Shields  managed 
to  get  forward  with  three  Lewis  guns  into  some  houses  a 
few  hundred  yards  to  the  north-west  of  the  farm,  and  under 
cover  of  their  fire  the  farm  was  rushed.  In  their  advance 
the  men  had  fired  from  the  hip  with  good  results.  A 
position  was  taken  up  for  the  night  in  liaison  with  the 
neighbouring  units.  There  had  been  very  few  casualties 
in  this  advance,  the  resistance  being  due  to  a  few  energetic 
men  acting  as  rearguards  to  the  Army.  This  was  the  last 
appearance  of  the  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  in  action.  They 
heard  the  news  of  the  Armistice  at  St.  Genois. 

While  the  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers  were  advancing  on  the 
eastern  side  of  the  Courtrai-Bossuyt  Canal  on  October 
21st,  the  26th  Battalion  were  operating  west  of  the  canal. 
The  brigade  moved  forward  about  11  a.m.  towards  the 
Laatse  Oortie-Hoogstraatje  Ridge.  On  reaching  this 
point  the  left  battalion,  the  10th  Queen's,  were  to  turn 
half  left  and  seize  the  canal  crossing  and  the  tunnel 
beneath.  The  26th  Royal  Fusiliers  were  to  move  forward 
from  support  to  the  position  vacated  by  the  Queen's  and 
then  move  forward  to  the  Scheldt.  Under  the  most 
favourable  conditions  this  involved  a  considerable  advance, 
and  unfortunately  the  troops  had  only  reached  the  ridge 
when  heavy  artillery  and  machine-gun  fire  caught  them 
from  the  east  of  the  canal.  The  26th  Battalion  could  not 
advance,  despite  repeated  efforts ;  and  an  attempt  by  D 
Company  at  night  was  also  checked  by  unbroken  wire  and 
machine  guns.  A  line  was  consolidated,  and  patrols  were 
sent  out ;   but  the  latter  found  the  enemy  very  vigilant, 


24TH   BATTALION   ENTER  VERTAIN       327 

and,  indeed,  the  defence  on  this  sector  was  well  maintained 
for  the  next  few  days.     The  battalion  were  relieved  on  the 
night  of  the  23rd,  and  when  they  next  attacked  towards 
the  Scheldt,  on  the  25th,  it  was  in  the  area  east  of  the  canal. 
But  the  battalion  had  no  better  luck  on  this  occasion. 
The  German  barrage  was  very  heavy,  and  the  machine- 
gun  fire  so  intense  that  the  whole  line  was  held  up  on  the 
west   of   Ooteghem.     Lieutenant   A.   E.    Chambers   and 
Second    Lieutenant    H.    M.    Tuck    with    their    platoons 
attempted  to  enter  the  village  from  the  right,  but  were 
driven  back,  both  officers  being  mortally  wounded.     An 
attempt  was  made  to  rush  the  windmill  on  the  ridge  south- 
west of  Ooteghem.     Lieutenant  T.  Robinson,  of  A  Com- 
pany, was  killed  in  a  first  gallant  dash ;  but  it  was  eventually 
captured.     After  further  heavy  losses,  including  Lieut. - 
Colonel  H.  A.  Robinson,  D.S.O.,  the  battalion  dug  in  for 
the  night.     Fighting  patrols  were  pushed  forward  next 
day,  but  the  battalion   were  relieved  before   they  had 
reached  the  Scheldt,  and  the  battle  line  saw  them  no  more. 
To  Mormal  Forest. — Meanwhile  the  Selle  positions  had 
been  taken,  and  the  army  now  opened  an  attack  having  for 
its  objective  the  general  line  Valenciennes — western  edge 
of  Mormal  Forest-Sambre-Oise  Canal.     With  this  advance 
the  junction  of  Aulnoye,  which  links  up  the  Mezieres  and 
Hirson  main  line  with  the  Maubeuge,  Charleroi  and  main 
lines  to  Germany,  would  be  brought  under  effective  fire. 
The  24th  Royal  Fusiliers  took  up  positions  west  of  Vertain 
on  the  night  of  October  22nd,  and  at  3.30  a.m.  D  Company 
attacked  the  village,  C  advancing  against  the  road  running 
eastward  from  it  an  hour  later.     Both  objectives  were 
gained  by  5.10  a.m.,  though  the  task  of  reducing  the  village 
was  by  no  means  easy.     They  captured  250  prisoners  and 
between  fifty  and  sixty  machine  guns  and   much  other 
booty.     They  were  billeted  in  the  village  that  night,  and 
on  the  next  morning  the  23rd  Royal  Fusiliers  carried  the 
line  still  further  forward  by  the  capture  of  Ruesnes.     With 
comparatively  few  casualties  they  cleared  and  consolidated 
the  village,  and  sent  outposts  forward  to  the  railway. 


328     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT   WAR 

They  were  assisted  in  their  operations  by  the  4th  Royal 
Fusiliers.  On  the  ridge  below  Ruesnes  were  numerous 
field  guns,  and  when  the  4th  Battalion  crossed  the  river 
Ecaillon  at  4.24  on  the  morning  of  the  24th,  and  began 
their  advance  up  the  slopes  of  this  ridge,  they  came  under 
point-blank  fire  from  these  guns.  Many  prisoners,  with 
light  and  heavy  machine  guns,  had  already  been  captured  ; 
and  with  a  concerted  Lewis-gun  fire  the  German  gunners 
were  put  to  flight,  and  three  field  guns  were  taken.  The 
battalion  then  continued  their  advance  to  the  final 
objective,  the  western  end  of  the  Ruesnes- Le  Quesnoy 
road.  Their  left  flank  lay  just  off  the  road  from  the  north- 
eastern corner  of  Ruesnes  to  the  railway.  The  battalion 
were  very  weak,  and  all  four  companies  were  in  the  line. 
The  4th  Battalion  with  their  brigade  thereafter  held  the 
main  line  of  resistance  until  relief,  the  8th  Brigade  pushing 
on  to  gain  touch  with  the  retreating  enemy. 

The  nth  Battalion  attacked  in  the  moonlight  at 
1.20  a.m.  from  the  railway  embankment  north-east  of 
Le  Cateau  ;  and,  being  the  second  wave,  came  under  a 
very  heavy  bombardment  as  they  advanced  after  the 
Bedfords.  At  the  outset  they  had  to  move  in  single 
file  across  a  narrow  footbridge ;  and,  as  a  heavy  barrage 
was  playing  upon  it,  there  was  a  certain  amount  of 
nervousness.  Captain  Horn  feck  at  once  pushed  forward 
and  stood  calmly  at  this  danger  spot  until  all  the  men 
were  across.  In  the  half-light,  the  Bedfords  halted  about 
500  yards  short  of  their  objective,  and  on  this  line  the 
nth  Royal  Fusiliers  passed  through,  Captain  Hornfeck's 
company  reaching  their  objective  near  the  Epinette 
Farm  road.  But  in  this  position  they  were  isolated  and 
were  under  fire  from  both  flanks.  After  two  hours  of 
this  ordeal  they  were  compelled  to  fall  back  to  the  ridge 
above  the  road,  where  they  found  the  other  companies  ; 
and  the  55th  Brigade  passed  through  their  line  at  7.30  a.m. 
The  battalion  were  about  two  companies  strong  by  this 
time,  but  they  had  alone  captured  eleven  field  guns  and  a 
considerable  number  of  prisoners. 


THE  ECAILLON   CROSSED  329 

The  attack  was  resumed  on  the  next  morning,  and  again 
there  was  some  confusion  in  the  darkness,  as  a  consequence 
of  which  the  Royal  Fusiliers  became  involved  in  the 
fighting  before  they  reached  the  line  on  which  they  were 
to  pass  through  the  Northants.  They  had  to  beat  off  a 
German  counter-attack  at  Bousies  Wood  Farm,  and  when 
they  were  able  to  advance  they  found  the  ridge  in  front 
of  them  swept  with  machine-gun  fire.  A  pause  was  made 
in  order  that  the  position  might  be  further  treated  by 
artillery ;  but  the  barrage,  when  it  came  down,  caused  a 
number  of  casualties  in  our  own  ranks.  Lieutenant  E.  L. 
Moody  had  become  the  commanding  officer  of  three 
companies.  He  reorganised  them  when  held  up ;  and, 
freely  exposing  himself  under  machine-gun  fire,  he  was 
more  than  a  little  responsible  for  the  battalion's  final 
advance.  Lieutenant  P.  E.  Tyler  also  showed  outstanding 
courage,  and  although  shot  through  the  lungs,  continued 
in  the  direction  of  his  company  for  some  three  hours  until 
he  collapsed.  At  night  the  troops  held  a  position  near 
the  Robersart-Englefontaine  road. 

On  the  second  day  (24th)  of  the  battle  the  13th  Royal 
Fusiliers  attacked  from  the  north  of  Salesches,  the  way 
having  been  cleared  up  to  this  point  in  a  spirited  attack 
of  the  10th  Battalion  on  the  preceding  day.  Some 
casualties  were  caused  by  the  enemy  bombardment  as 
the  troops  were  assembling,  and,  in  the  darkness,  there 
was  a  certain  amount  of  confusion  and  lack  of  direction  ; 
but  at  length  the  battalion  advanced,  No.  3  Company  and 
two  platoons  of  No.  2  forming  a  defensive  flank  on  the 
right  against  the  enemy,  who  were  still  holding  the  high 
ground  south-west  of  Salesches  station.  Shortly  after 
5.30  a.m.  the  left  company  (No.  4)  were  held  up  by  wire. 
The  advance  was  resumed  at  seven  o'clock,  and  the 
Ecaillon  was  crossed,  the  two  platoons  on  the  left  wading 
across  some  500  yards  from  the  western  edge  of  Ghissignies. 
In  the  village  a  few  prisoners  were  captured  and  added  to 
the  collection,  which  had  been  steadily  growing  from  the 
beginning  of  the  advance.     East  of  Ghissignies  heavy  fire 


330     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

was  experienced  from  a  chapel,  and  the  leading  platoon 

of  No.   i  Company  were  wiped  out.     The  left  company 

were  also  held  up  by  machine  guns,  and  when  they  were 

reduced  to  a  strength  of  40,  they  were  withdrawn  and 

moved  north-east  to  the  orchard  beyond  the  road.     No.  1 

Company  retired  to  the  main  line  in  front  of  the  village, 

and  at  6  p.m.  the  line  was  consolidated.     On  the  following 

day  the  battalion  attempted  to  push  forward  once  more, 

but  were  held  up  near  the  De  Beart  Farm.     The  battalion 

were  relieved  at  9  p.m.   on  this  day,  and  received  the 

congratulations  of   the   divisional   commander  for  their 

"  fine  work."     With  120  prisoners  and  numerous  guns 

and  trench  mortars  and  an  advance  of  about  5,000  yards 

to  their  credit,  they  deserved  congratulations ;  but  they 

had  lost  108  officers  and  men  and  were  now  reduced  to 

11  officers  and  269  other  ranks. 

*  *  *  * 

The  war  was  now  ringing  to  a  close.  The  Royal 
Fusilier  battalions  who  had  been  engaged  in  constant 
battles  since  the  opening  of  the  offensive  on  August  8th 
were  many  of  them  worn  to  the  shadow  of  their  former 
selves.  The  wastage  in  officers  had  been  terribly  high  ; 
and  yet,  filled  out  with  drafts,  frequently  young  men  of 
little  training,  they  appeared  in  the  fighting  line  once 
again.  The  astonishing  thing  is  that  they  entered  battle 
with  the  flair  of  the  expert  and  were  prepared  for  all  risks. 
The  last  battle  was  now  to  be  fought.  Germany's  allies 
had  all  forsaken  her,  and  she  had  herself  abandoned  every 
fiction  and  requested  an  armistice. 

The  Battle  of  the  Sambre. — At  dawn  on  Novem- 
ber 4th  the  First,  Third  and  Fourth  Armies  struck  from 
the  Sambre,  north  of  Oisy,  to  Valenciennes.  On  the  left 
flank  of  the  attack  the  4th  Londons  crossed  the  river 
Aunelle  at  Sebourg  and  then  turned  northward  to  Sebour- 
quiaux  and  cleared  it  of  machine  guns.  A  Company,  on 
the  left,  were  unable  to  secure  touch  with  the  Canadians, 
and  came  under  heavy  machine-gun  fire  from  Rombies  ; 
but  when  Sebourquiaux  was  cleared  they  were  able  to 


STRUGGLE  ON  THE  HONNELLE    331 

advance  to  the  Aunelle.  The  main  bridge  had  been 
destroyed,  but  they  crossed  by  a  footbridge  and  formed  a 
defensive  flank  across  the  river.  On  the  right  the  bat- 
talion were  in  touch  with  the  Queen's  Westminsters, 
but  on  the  left  their  flank  was  still  in  the  air.  They  were 
relieved  the  next  morning  on  these  positions,  and  other 
battalions  of  the  division  carried  the  line  forward.  At 
midnight  on  the  5th  the  2nd  Londons  relieved  the  London 
Rifle  Brigade,  and  suffered  heavy  casualties  in  moving 
into  position.  On  the  following  morning  they  advanced 
after  the  barrage  across  a  deep  ravine,  covered  with  thick 
undergrowth,  to  the  Honnelle.  The  river  was  at  this  time 
swollen  with  the  recent  rains,  and  its  steep  wooded  sides 
formed  admirable  cover  for  the  German  machine  guns. 
C  and  D  Companies  reached  and  crossed  the  river,  but, 
both  flanks  being  in  the  air,  were  almost  surrounded,  and 
had  to  fall  back  to  the  western  side.  A  and  B  also  forced 
their  way  across  and  advanced  to  the  railway  at  the  edge 
of  the  Bois  de  Beaufort.  But  beyond  this  the  ground 
was  swept  by  machine  guns,  and  the  flanking  battalions 
could  not  be  located.  The  Germans  pressed  round  their 
left  flank,  but  were  put  to  flight  by  a  bayonet  charge. 
Another  party  of  the  enemy  got  through  the  wood  to  the 
rear  of  the  detachment,  and  the  officer  in  charge  called 
out,  "  Hands  up  !  "  Half  of  the  small  detachment  delivered 
another  bayonet  charge  in  reply.  It  was  obvious  that  to 
recross  such  a  river  under  such  pressure  was  an  extremely 
difficult  operation  ;  yet,  under  the  direction  of  Captain 
Rowlands,  M.C.,  the  detachments  retired,  taking  their 
wounded  with  them.  The  battalion  reorganised  along 
their  assembly  positions  and  were  relieved  in  the  evening, 
after  a  total  loss  of  5  officers  and  107  other  ranks,  sustained 
in  attempting  an  operation  that  no  troops  in  the  world 
of  equal  strength  could  have  carried  out. 

The  1st  Royal  Fusiliers  attacked  on  November  5th, 
advancing  from  Jenlain,  and  on  the  high  ground  east  of 
Wargnies  le  Grand,  passing  through  the  73rd  Brigade. 
After  an  advance  of  about  5,000  yards  the  troops  came 


332     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT   WAR 

into  contact  with  the  enemy  about  1,000  yards  west  of 
the  Hogneau  stream,  which  casts  a  wide  loop  about  Bavai, 
to  the  east.  At  this  point  there  was  considerable  machine- 
gun  fire,  and  the  barrage  put  down  did  not  affect  the 
position.  The  battalion  therefore  held  their  ground  for 
the  night.  At  dawn  on  November  6th  the  battalion 
advanced,  but  were  held  up  on  the  east  bank  of  the  river, 
as  all  attempts  to  carry  the  high  ground  to  the  east  proved 
unsuccessful.  The  German  rearguards  were  very  stubborn 
on  this  part  of  the  front.  The  next  day  the  3rd  Rifle 
Brigade  passed  through  the  battalion,  who  on  the  8th 
went  into  billets  at  Bavai,  where  they  still  lay  on  Novem- 
ber nth. 

On  the  37th  Division  front  both  the  13th  and  the  10th 
Royal  Fusiliers  were  engaged.  The  latter  were  to  pass 
through  the  13th  King's  Royal  Rifles,  who  were  to  mop 
up  the  village  of  Louvignies  and  advance  to  a  line  about 
500  yards  to  the  east.  At  this  point  the  10th  Royal 
Fusiliers  were  to  pass  through  and  advance  about  1,000 
yards.  At  five  o'clock  in  the  morning  all  companies  were 
in  position  on  the  railway,  on  which  shells  had  been  fall- 
ing throughout  the  night.  Lieutenant  A.  N.  Usher,  M.C., 
commanding  A  Company,  was  killed  at  this  point.  Half 
an  hour  later  the  companies,  advancing  under  the  barrage, 
encountered  several  machine-gun  posts,  which  they 
reduced.  D  Company  went  through  the  village,  killing  or 
taking  prisoner  all  the  Germans  met  with,  and  the  battalion 
reached  their  objective  in  schedule  time.  About  8  p.m.  that 
night  they  went  back  to  Beaurain  after  a  finished  little 
engagement  in  which,  for  a  total  loss  of  52  officers  and 
men,  they  had  captured  300  prisoners,  three  field  guns, 
a  motor  lorry  and  a  large  number  of  machine  guns. 

The  13th  Battalion  were  to  pass  through  the  Essex  on 
the  Red  Line,  nearly  3,000  yards  further  east,  on  the  edge 
of  the  forest.  In  Ghissignies  at  7.35  a.m.  they  came 
under  heavy  fire,  and  machine-gun  bullets  were  whistling 
across  the  road.  The  companies  were  halted  outside 
Louvignies  for  the  Essex  to  come  up,  and  at  9.40  this 


THROUGH   MORMAL   FOREST  333 

battalion  had  passed  through.  After  crossing  the 
Louvignies-Le  Quesnoy  road  under  fire  at  10.45  a.m., 
they  lost  touch  with  both  flanks  owing  to  the  enclosed 
nature  of  the  ground.  About  noon  B  Company  was 
moving  after  the  Essex  through  Jolimetz  and  helping  to 
mop  it  up  ;  and  A  Company,  after  helping  the  Essex  to 
reduce  a  machine-gun  pocket  south-west  of  the  village, 
was  moving  forward  towards  the  Red  Line.  At  3.45  p.m., 
after  surmounting  the  difficulties  of  assembling  owing 
to  the  thick  undergrowth,  the  companies  began  to  enter 
the  forest.  It  was  already  growing  dark.  There  was  a 
spasmodic  machine-gun  fire  down  the  railway  and  the 
laies,  and  the  battalion  made  but  slow  progress.  They 
were  only  about  the  strength  of  a  full  company,  and  the 
German  Army  a  year  before  would  have  made  a  jest  of 
dealing  with  such  a  force  in  the  forest.  At  6  p.m.  four 
platoons  had  reached  the  cross-roads  about  the  railway, 
where  a  machine  gun  was  captured  and  the  team  killed ; 
and  had  formed  a  strong  point  there.  Posts  were  thrown 
out  to  the  cross-roads  about  500  yards  to  the  south-west, 
where  contact  was  made  with  the  8th  Somerset  Light 
Infantry.  Platoon  No.  9  of  B  Company  was  out  of  touch. 
This  platoon,  under  Sergeant  W.  Green,  M.M.,  had  with 
great  daring  pushed  on  through  the  wood  in  complete 
darkness  to  the  point  where  the  Villereau-Berlaimont 
road  is  crossed  by  two  other  roads.  At  this  point  on 
November  4th  the  continuous  area  of  standing  trees 
ended,  though  there  were  other  considerable  patches  of 
standing  trees  about  4,000  yards  to  the  east.  The 
platoon,  completely  isolated,  dug  in,  patrolling  for  1,000 
yards  to  the  east,  and  held  on  until  morning,  when  the 
5th  Division  passed  through.  The  rest  of  the  battalion, 
nearly  1,000  yards  distant  on  the  right  rear,  could  find  no 
troops  on  their  left.  Sergeant  Green's  platoon,  in  fact, 
was  the  only  unit  for  at  least  1,000  yards  north  and  south 
which  reached  the  dotted  Red  Line.*     By  5.30  a.m.  on 

*  So  far  as  I  can  discover,  it  was  the  most  easterly  post  held  that  night 
on  the  British  front.     Sergeant  Green  was  awarded  the  D.C.M. 


334     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

November  5th  the  battalion  were  on  this  line,  and  when 
they  were  passed  by  the  5th  Division  they  went  back  to 
Le  Rond  Quesne. 

At  6.15  in  the  morning  of  the  4th  the  nth  Royal 
Fusiliers  attacked  Preux  au  Bois.  A  composite  company 
with  the  Bedfords  and  a  company  of  the  6th  Northants 
moved  from  a  position  north  of  the  village  already  taken 
by  the  rest  of  the  Northants,  while  the  rest  of  the  nth 
Battalion  demonstrated  from  the  west.  By  eight  o'clock 
the  composite  company  (C  and  D)  were  in  position  to 
clear  the  village  from  the  north.  Captain  Hope,  com- 
manding this  company,  although  held  up  by  machine-gun 
nests  and  the  breakdown  of  the  tank  which  was  to  deal 
with  them  at  the  beginning  of  the  attack,  eventually 
"  succeeded  in  breaking  through  with  some  20  men. 
Without  waiting  for  the  remainder,  he  at  once  pushed  on 
with  such  effect  that  he  succeeded  in  clearing  up  the 
whole  area,  capturing  over  twenty  machine  guns  and 
some  200  prisoners,  including  5  officers.  The  success 
of  the  attack  in  this  area  was  entirely  due  to  his  leadership 
and  determination,  while  the  example  of  coolness  and 
courage  he  gave  was  beyond  all  praise."*  By  11  a.m. 
other  battalions  were  pushing  ahead,  and  the  nth  Royal 
Fusiliers'  work  was  done. 

On  the  morning  of  November  4th  the  3rd  Royal 
Fusiliers  took  up  assembly  positions  astride  the  Fontaine 
au  Bois-Landrecies  road,  about  1,000  yards  south-east 
of  the  village  of  Fontaine.  The  weather  was  damp  and 
misty,  and  when  the  battalion  advanced  about  500  yards 
the  leading  companies  were  out  of  touch,  and  the  support 
company  went  up  to  rill  the  gap.  It  was  about  this 
point  that  the  13th  Royal  Highlanders  were  held  up 
on  the  Englefontaine  road.  The  German  machine-gun 
defence  was  very  elaborate  on  this  sector  of  the  front, 
and  without  the  co-operation  of  the  tanks  it  is  difficult 
to  see  how  it  could  have  been  crushed  by  such  light  forces. 
About  8  a.m.  the  Scottish  Horse  were  across  the  road, 

*  Official  account.     He  was  awarded  the  D.S.O 


ADVANCE   OF  THE   THIRD   BATTALION     335 

and  the  3rd  Royal  Fusiliers,  who  had  been  mopping  up  a 
few  houses  on  their  front,  resumed  the  advance.  The 
village  of  Les  Etoquies  was  reached  and  cleared,  and  by 
about  11.30  the  Red  Line  was  reached  and  the  objective 
consolidated.  The  Red  Line  lay  some  3,000  yards  from 
the  starting  point  and  about  1,500  yards  from  the  Sambre. 
The  outposts  of  the  battalion  extended  to  about  half  the 
distance  to  the  river.  The  total  casualties  for  the  day 
were  120  officers  and  men,  including  Captain  Murray 
Large,  who  was  killed  on  the  tape  line.  Field  guns, 
machine  guns,  wagons  and  horses  were  among  the  captures. 

The  troops  reached  Hachette  Farm,  north  of  the  rail- 
way near  the  Maroilles  road,  at  5  p.m.  on  November  5th, 
and  spent  the  night  there.  On  the  following  day  the 
battalion  began  to  follow  up  the  retreating  Germans, 
crossing  the  Sambre  below  Hachette  Farm  and  advancing 
through  Laval.  Little  opposition  was  encountered,  and 
when  in  the  evening  two  Germans,  fully  equipped,  were 
met  with  on  the  road,  they  were  so  surprised  that  they 
screamed  with  fright.  At  8.30  p.m.  on  the  7th  the  3rd 
Battalion  were  in  billets  at  St.  Remy  Chauss6e  when  an 
order  was  received  that  deserves  record  :  "  If  German 
officer  bearing  a  flag  of  truce  presents  himself  at  any  point 
of  British  front,  he  will  be  conducted  to  the  nearest 
divisional  headquarters  and  detained  there  pending 
instructions  from  G.H.Q." 

This  was  welcome  news.  Weariness  was  almost  the 
chief  handicap  of  the  time.  The  transport  animals  were 
in  poor  condition  owing  to  overwork,  and  still  there  was 
not  enough  transport.  Blankets  and  great-coats  had  been 
dumped  at  Fontaine  for  this  reason,  and  on  November  7th 
wagons  were  sent  for  them.  The  roads  were  very  heavy 
and  much  damaged  by  mines. 

*  *  *  * 

On  November  8th  the  7th  Battalion  were  heavily 
engaged.  On  the  preceding  day  they  had  moved  through 
Sebourquiaux,  taken  on  November  4th  by  the  Londons, 
and  at  noon  on  the  8th  they  moved  along  the  Andregnies- 


336     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

Witheries  road  without  opposition,  but  met  heavy  machine- 
gun  and  trench-mortar  fire  before  Offignies.  After  a  brisk 
fight  the  enemy  fell  back,  after  inflicting  five  casualties. 
The  battalion  advanced  again  on  November  9th,  carried 
the  Montroeul  wood  and  the  Eugies-Sars  La  Bruyere  road, 
and  reached  a  position  on  the  road  from  Quevy  le  Petit  to 

the  Mons-Maubeuge  road. 

*  *  *  * 

The  3rd  Royal  Fusiliers  advanced  to  Mont  Dourlers  on 
the  8th  under  heavy  machine-gun  fire,  and  amid  the  sounds 
of  exploding  mines  which  told  their  tale  of  continued 
retirement.  Patrols  on  this  evening  were  sent  to  the 
western  edge  of  the  forest  of  Beugnies.  Before  dawn  on 
the  following  day  the  patrols  began  to  push  through  the 
forest.  On  the  left  they  came  under  machine-gun  fire, 
but  the  centre  company  were  through  the  wood  by  5  a.m. 
A  few  hours  later  the  battalion  were  withdrawn  to  Mont 
Dourlers  to  billets,  thoroughly  exhausted,  but  pleased  with 
having  seen  the  last  of  the  enemy  in  the  war. 

On  November  10th  the  7th  Battalion  reached  the 
Nouvelles-Harveng  road  with  little  difficulty  at  8.30  a.m. 
The  188th  Brigade  went  through  them  at  this  post,  and  in 
the  afternoon  the  battalion  proceeded  to  Harveng  and 
billeted  there  for  the  night.  They  were  still  in  this  village, 
a  few  miles  south  of  Mons,  when  the  Armistice  took  effect 
the  next  morning.  On  November  15th  5  officers  and  180 
other  ranks  embussed  to  Mons  and  took  part  in  the  formal 
entry  of  the  First  Army  commander. 

The  4th,  17th,  23rd,  24th,  and  26th  Battalions  went 
into  Germany  as  part  of  the  Army  of  Occupation.  The 
long-drawn-out  war  had  come  to  an  end.  The  individual 
share  of  any  regiment  in  the  final  victory  it  were  unwise 
to  estimate.  But  at  least  it  may  be  said  in  a  final  survey 
of  the  achievement  of  the  Royal  Fusiliers  in  Egypt,  in 
Africa,  in  the  Balkans,  and  on  the  main  Western  front, 
that  everywhere  they  showed  themselves  worthy  of  the 
traditions  they  inherited,  in  fine,  a  very  gallant  company. 


APPENDIX 

THE  ROLL  OF  HONOUR 

OFFICERS    OF   THE   ROYAL   FUSILIERS 

Adams,  Ernest  Frederick,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/6/17. 
Adams,   Ralph  Newton,  M.C.,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,   10/10/16  (7/Bn.,  att. 

R.F.C.,  23/Sq.). 
Addis,  David  Malcolm,  2/Lt.,  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  9/6/17. 
Aldrick,  Charles  Pelham,  2/Lt.,  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Allen,  Archibald  Stafford,  Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/10/15. 
Anderson,  William  Francis,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  10/12/15. 
Andrews,  Alan  Charles  Findlay,  2/Lt.,  16/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/6/15. 
Andrews,  John  Leonard,  M.M.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  19/5/18. 
Anketell,  C.  E.,  2/Lt.,  killed,  11/5/18  (R.A.F.). 
Annesley,  Albemarle  Cator,  D.S.O.,   Lt.-Col.    (Tp.),   8/Bn.,   d.   of  w., 

8/7/16. 
Anstice,  John  Spencer  Ruscombe,  Lt.,  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  2/5/15. 
Anthony,  Clarence  Case,  Capt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  15/12/15. 
Aris,  Thomas  Arthur,  Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  16/4/17. 
Armstrong,  Christopher,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/4/16  (14/Bn.,  att.  6/N.  Lan.  R.). 
Armstrong,  John  Owen,  2/Lt.,  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  15/7/16. 
Arnold,  A.  C.  P.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  18/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/16. 
Arnould,  Derek  Clement,  Lt.,  died,  7/5/18  (4/Bn.,  att.  R.T.E.). 
Aspden,  Ronald  William,  2/Lt.,  5/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  8/8/17. 
Astley,  Aston  Giffard,  Major  (Tp\),  k.  in  a.,  1/10/16  (att.  M.G.  Corps). 
Astwood,  Edward  Leicester  Stuart,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  20/9/16. 
Attwood,  Algernon  Foulkes,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/10/14. 
Ayres,  Victor  Albert,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/9/18. 
Ayrton,  Frank  Frederick  Joseph,  Capt.,  16/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  28/6/15. 
Backlake,  Brian  Ashber,  Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Badenoch,  Ian  Forbes  Clark,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  died,  19/3/17. 
Baker,  Bertram  Reginald,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/16. 
Baker,  John  Bartrup  Harwood,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/9/1. 
Balbirnie,  John  Victor  Elphinstone,  2/Lt.,  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/9/18. 
Bambridge,  Rupert  Charles,  D.S.O.,  M.C.,  M.M.,  Capt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn., 

d.  of  w.,  23/5/18. 
Bambridge,  William  Herbert,  Lt.   (Tp.)    (A/Capt.),   24/Bn.,   k.  in  a., 

19/8/17- 
Banister,  Charles  Wilfred,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/6/15. 
Banks,  Edward  Francis,  2/Lt.,  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  28/2/17. 
Bantock,  Arthur  Thomas,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  23//11/15. 
Barber,  George,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  16/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/10/16. 
Barker,  Hugh  Edwin,  2/Lt.,  6/Bn.,  died,  31/1/18. 
Barnes,  Edward  James,  2/Lt.,  5/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  4/5/18. 
Barnes,  Vincent  Kendall,  2/Lt.,  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/4/17. 
Barnes,  Wilfred  Oliver,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  18/11/16. 
Barnett-Barker,  R.,  D.S.O.,  Brig.-Gen.,  22,/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  25/3/18. 
Barnett,  Bret  Hercules,  2/Lt.,  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/8/17. 
Barnett,  Herbert  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 
Barrell,  Victor  Henry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  n/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/8/18. 
Barrett,  Keith  Joy,  Lt.  (Tp.),  2/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  16/4/17. 

F-  Z 


338     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT   WAR 

Barrow,  Hector  Henry,  2/Lt.,  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/10/15. 

Barten,  Donald,  2/Lt.,  8  Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/1 1/17. 

Barton,  Frank  Hubert,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  5/11/18  (att.  T.M.B.). 

Barton,  Kenneth  Cyril,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9  Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 

Barton,  Stanley  Ernest,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.   31/7/17. 

Batty-Smith,  F.  C,  Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/6/16. 

Baugh,  Charles,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  5/4/18. 

Bayly,  Harry  Ayrton,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  14/6/17. 

Bayley,  Reginald  John,  2/Lt.,  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/4/17. 

Beale,  Ernest  Frederick,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  28/4/17. 

Beausire,  Herbert  Arthur  William,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/3/15. 

Bentley,  Howard  Lidyard,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  28/2/17. 

Berrill,  Bernard  Francis  Gotch,  Lt.,  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1 7/3/1 5. 

Berry,  A.  L.,  2/Lt.,  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/16. 

Bescoby,  Edgar  Laurence,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  18/6/17. 

Bettesworth,   Tom,   2/Lt.   (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,   3/11/15   (12/Bn.,  att.   R.E. 
172/Fld.  Coy.). 

Betts,  Henry  Lee,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 

Bevir,  R.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  15/7/16. 

Bingham,  Frank  Oldfield,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  14/9/18. 

Birchall,  Arthur  Percival,  Capt.  (T/Lt.-Col.),  k.  in  a.,  24/4/15  (att.  Can. 
Div.). 

Bird,  Clement  Eustace,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  28/6/17. 

Bird,  Eric  Hinckes,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  27/6/16  (i/Bn.,  att.  R.F.C.,  25/Sq.). 

Bishop,  Charles  Frederick,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/4/18. 
Black,  George  Dudley  Austin,  Lt.  (Tp.),  22/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/6/16. 

Blackwell,  Charles,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/7/15. 

Blackwell,  Cyril,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  16/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 

Blackwell,  William  Gordon,  Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  5/10/16. 

Bleaden,  Lionel,  Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6-9/7/16. 

Boddy,  G.  G.  D.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/3/16. 

Bolland,  Frederick  William  Henry,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/6/17. 

Bond,  William  Henry  Hugh,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/6/17. 

Booth,  John,  2/Lt.,  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 

Bott,  William  Ernest,  Capt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.),  k.  in  a.,  18/9/18. 

Bourne,  Leonard  Cecil,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  2/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  14/8/17. 

Bourne,  S.  M.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  4-5/4/16  (8/Bn.,  att.  8/R.W.  Fus.). 

Bowden-Smith,  Walter  A.  C,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  28/8/14. 

Bower,  Frederic  William,  Capt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  8/3/18. 

Bracey,  Frederick  Sidney,  Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/11/16. 

Brand,  Ernest  Stanley,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/10/14  (and  W.A.  Rifs.). 

Brandreth,  Lyall,  Major,  k.  in  a.,  4/6/15. 

Bray,  George  Thomas,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  26/10/17. 

Brickland,  Charles  Hampton,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/3/15. 

Bridgman,  William  Louis,  2/Lt.,  6/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  20/9/17. 

Bright,  Francis  John,  2/Lt.,  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 

Broad,  A.  M.  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  12/7/16  (15/Bn.,  att.  M.G.C.). 

Brodie,  Sidney  Edward,  2/Lt.  (Tp),  17/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  17/4/17. 

Brown,  Frederick  Arthur,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/11/16. 

Brown,  John  Gordon,  M.C.,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  5/10/18  (att.  47  Div.,  Arty 

H.Q.). 
Brinkworth,  W.  H.,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  4/8/18  (R.A.F.). 
Bruce,  Wallace  Edward,  Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 
Buckland,  C.  J.,  2/Lt.,  died,  19/8/18  (R.A.F.). 
Bulbeck,  Henry  Edmund,  Lt.  (Tp.),  16/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6/11/16. 
Bull,  Percival  John,  2/Lt.,  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Bullock,  Robert,  Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 
Bullock,  William  Acton,  2/Lt.,  died,  25/10/18  (att.  2/17  Lond.  R.). 
Bungev,  Gerald  Edwards,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/8/16. 
Burdett,  C.  P.  B.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9  Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/16. 


THE   ROLL  OF   HONOUR  339 

Burdett,  William  Allan,  M.C.,  A/Capt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 

Burgess,  Eric  Archibald,  2/Lt.,  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1 7/2/1 7. 

Burgess,  Reginald  Charles,  2/Lt.,  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 

Burnham,  Andrew  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  15/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/11/16. 

Burton,  Charles  William  Gordon,  2/Lt.,  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/1 1/1 7. 

Bushell,  R.  H.  C,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/7/16. 

Butchard,  Robert  Archibald,  Lt.  (Tp.),  31/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  5/11/16. 

Butterworth,  Edward  Cyril,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  21/11/17. 

Byng,  Arthur  Maitland,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  14/9/14. 

Calthrop,  Alfred  Gordon,  2/Lt.,  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/8/17. 

Calwell,  Theophilus  Legate,  M.C.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 

Campbell,  Charles,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  20/4/18. 

Campbell,  Frederick  Charles,  2/Lt.,  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/3/18. 

Campbell,  Ronald  Walter  Francis,  Capt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  11/8/16. 

Cane,  Leonard  Dobbie,  Capt.  and  Adj.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/1/16. 

Carey,  Francis  Ambrose,  2/Lt.,  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 

Carey,  Leicester  William  le  Marchant,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  17/10/14. 

Carmichael,  David  Arthur,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 7/4/18  (3/Bn.,  att.  M.G.  Corps). 

Carpenter,  Clarence,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1 7/2/1 7. 

Carr,  James  Walter,  M.C.,  D.C.M.,  Lt.,  died,  16/11/18  (23/Bn.,  att.  99 

T.M.B.). 
Carter,  Ernest  Lionel,  M.M.,  2/Lt.,  13  Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/10/18. 
Case,  Joseph,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  15/11/18  (5/Bn.,  att.  i/Bn.). 
Chambers,  Alfred  Ernest.  M.C.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  29/10/18. 
Champion,  Sydney  George,  Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  17/3/17  (5/Bn.,  att.  2/K. 

Afr.  Rifs.,  P.O.W.). 
Chapman,  Donald  John  Stuart,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  13/7/16. 
Chard,  Robert  Alexander  Farmer,  Capt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  8/7/16. 
Chatham,  George  Henry.  2/Lt.,  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/1 1/16. 
Chell,  Harold,  Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  10/8/15. 
Cheshire,  Eric  Corveroy,  Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Christie,  Murray  Inglis,  D.S.O.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.)  (A/Capt.),  32/Bn.,  d.  of  w., 

34/3/iS- 
Chuter,  Harry  Athelstan,  Lt.,  2/Bn.,  k.    in   a.,  25/3/17  (and  R.F.C., 

70/Sq.). 
Clapton,  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  5/9/16. 
Clark,  Arthur  James  Richard,  Lt.,  8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  9/10/16. 
Clarke,  Edward  George,  Lt.  (T./Capt.),  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/11/16. 
Clifford,  Watling  Wallis,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  12/10/17. 
Coates,  W.  F.,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  30/4/15  (6/Bn.,  att.  i/Bn.). 
Cocker,  Arthur  Wilfred  Kingsley,  2/Lt.,  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/1 1/17. 
Coggin,  Algernon  Oswald,  Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/10/6. 
Cohen,  Edward,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 
Cole,  Mowbray  Lyster  Stanley  Owen,  Capt.,  died,  14/9/14. 
Cole,  Wilfred  Samuel,  Lt.  (Tp.),  25/Bn.,  died,  11/5/16. 
Coley,   Joseph  Alfred,  2/Lt.   (A/Capt.),  k.  in  a.,  22/3/18  (5/Bn.,  att. 

4/Bn.). 
Collings,  Sydney  Walter,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/4/18. 
Collis-Sandes,  Maurice,  James,  Capt.,  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1 7/2/1 7. 
Combe,  Boyce  Anthony,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  11/11/14  (6/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.). 
Compton,  Harold  A.,  Lt.-Col.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  7/7/17. 
Consterdine-Chadwick,     Robert    Thompson    Consterdine,     Lt.     (Tp.) 

(A/Capt.),  k.  in  a.,  4/10/18  (17/Bn.,  att.  3/Bn.). 
Cook,  Arthur  Basil  Kemball,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/16. 
Cook,  S.  Frank,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  5/8/17. 
Cooper,  Frederick  Edmund,  Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  18/12/18. 
Cooper,  Henry  Weatherley  Frank,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  7/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  28/4/17. 
Cooper,  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 
Coppack,  Charles  Richard  Stewart,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  24/3/18  (22/Bn.,  att. 

24/Bn.). 

z  2 


340     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE   GREAT   WAR 

Coppard,  William  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  23/3/18. 

Corben,  Victor  Leslie,  2/Lt.,  26/Bn.,  died,  22/7/18. 

Core,  Charles  Gooch,  2/Lt.,  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/8/17. 

Corlett,  Douglas  Stephen,  T/Lt.  (A/Capt.),  3/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  12/11/18. 

Cornaby,  C.  Ernest,  M.  C.  Capt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  23/9/18. 

Cornes,  Henry  Percy  Griffiths,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  27/9/17  (23/Bn.,  att. 

99/T.M.B.). 
Coull,  Frederick,  2/Lt.  (T/Lt.),  k.  in  a.,  30/9/18  (att.  23/Bn.). 
Coventry,  Eric,  2/Lt.  (Tp.,  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/7/16. 
Cowell,  J.  G.,  2/Lt.,  killed,  28/1/18  (att.  R.F.C.). 
Cowie,  Gerald  James  Hardwicke,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17. 
Cowie,  Lionel  Jack  Hardwicke,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/4/17. 
Cox,  Cecil  Arthur,  Capt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  16/10/16. 
Cox,  Henry  Jack,  Capt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 
Coxhead,  Maurice  Edward,  Capt.  (T/Major),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Crabb,  Thomas  Henry,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  1 8/3/10. 
Crampton,  Edgar  Walter,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/10/17  (5/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.). 
Croal,  Kenneth  McFarlane,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  19/10/18  (att.  2/10  R. 

Scots). 
Crook,  William  George,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  9/3/18. 
Crookes,  Ronald  Orme,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/6/16. 
Cross,  Christopher  Edric  Percy,  Lt.,  3/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/10/18. 
Crowe,  Hugh  Parby,  Lt.,  drowned,  28/10/15. 

Curwen,  Wilfred  John  Hutton,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/5/15  (6/Bn.,  att.  3/Bn.). 
Cuthbert,  David,  Capt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16  (29/Bn.,  att.  8/Bn.). 
Dadd,  Reginald  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  5/4/18. 
Daines,  Allan  Edward,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/12/17. 
Daines,  Roland  Lewis,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/8/17. 
Daniell,  George  Francis  Blackburne,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  24/4/17  (6/Bn.,  att. 

2/Bn.). 
Darker,  Richard  Owen,  2/Lt.,  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  12/4/18. 
V.C.     Dartnell,  Wilbur,  Lt.  (Tp.),  25/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/9/15- 
Davies,  Donald  Frederick,  2/Lt.   (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,   15/4/18  (22/Bn.,  att. 

23/Bn.). 
Davies,  Roland  Arthur  L.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  3/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/10/18. 
Davies,  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/4/17. 
Davis,  George  Leith  Blakeman,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/9/18. 
Davison,  Robert  Charles,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  19/5/17  (5/Bn.,  att.  4  Bn.). 
Dawson,  Frederick  Charles  Blakeman,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17  (11/Bn., 

att.  R.A.C.). 
Day,  Frederick  Charles,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17  (att.  12/Bn.). 
Day,  Hubert  Francis,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/8/17. 
Day,  Hubert  Victor,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  9/4/17- 
V.C.     Dease,  Maurice  James,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/8/14. 
De  Beck,  George  Clifford,  2/Lt.  (Tp  ),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  18/2/17. 
De  Trafford,  Ralph  Edric  Galfrid  Antony,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/4/15. 
De  Trafford,  Thomas  Cecil,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/11/14. 
Dilnutt,  Eric  William,  Lt.  (T/Capt),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  2/3/16. 
Disnev,  Arthur  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/1 1/1 7. 
Dixon",  Robert  William,  M.M.,  2/Lt.,  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  5/9/18. 
Docker,  George  Arthur  Murray,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  17/11/14. 
Done,  Neville  Savage,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/3/17  (6/Bn.,  att.  22/Bn.). 
Doudney,  Hugh  Denham,  A/Capt.,  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 
Douglas-Crompton,  Sidney  Harold  Lionel,  2/Lt.,  5/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/6/17. 
Downing,  Ernest  Gillespie,  Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Drinkill,  Frederick  Maurice,  Lt.,  2/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  1/7/16. 
Drummond,  Samuel  Frederick,  2/Lt.,  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/7/17. 
Dudley,  Leonard  Thomas,  M.C.,  Lt.,  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  8/10,18. 
Dudley,  Walter  Joseph,  Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  16/6/15. 
Du  Maurier,  Guy  Louis  Busson,  D.S.O.,  Lt.-Col.,  k.  in  a.,  10/3/15. 


THE   ROLL   OF   HONOUR  341 

Dunnington-Jefferson,  Wilfred  Mervyn,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  22-29/4/15  (7/Bn., 

att.  3/B11.). 
Dunwell,  Frederick  Leslie,  2/Lt.,  5/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/1/16. 
Dupres,  Ernest  Cruzick,  T/Lt.  (A/Capt.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/8/18. 
Dutch,  Ernest  James,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  6/1/17  (14/Bn.,  att.  25/7/Bn.). 
Eagar,  Rowland  Tallis,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/8/18  (att.  9/Bn.). 
Eames,  William  Stanley,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  16/2/16  (7/Bn.,  att.  12/Bn.). 
Eathorne,  Francis  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/7/16. 
Eborall,  John  Arthur,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  25/2/17. 
Echlin,  Frederick  St.  John  Ford  North,  2/Lt.,  5/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  27/9/16 

(and  R.F.C.). 
Ede,  Edwin  William,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  A/Capt.,  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/8/18. 
Edwards,  Albert  John,  2/Lt.,  T./Lt.,  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  2/8/17. 
Edwards,  Guy  Thulkeld,  Capt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/16- 
Edwards,  Leslie  Edward,  M.C.,  Capt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  6/1 2/1 7  (6/Bn.,  att. 

8/Bn.). 
Edwards,  Wilfred  William,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  22/1/17. 
Elliott,  Walter,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/11/16. 
V.C.     Elliott-Cooper,    Neville    Bowes,    D.S.O.,    M.C.,    Lt.-Col.    (Tp.), 

8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  11/2/18  (in  German  hands). 
Enderby,  Arthur  Aaron,  Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  2/8/17. 
Etheridge,  Hugh  Dimsdale,  M.C.,  M.M.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  d.  of  w„ 

2/10/18. 
Evans,  James  Bansall,  Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/8/16. 
Evans,  Lawrence  Picton,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  21/8/18  (6/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.). 
Farquharson,  Peere  William  Nesham,  2/Lt.,  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Featherstonhaugh,  G.  R.  A.,  Capt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  8/7/16. 
Fergusson,  Robert  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/4/17  (6/Bn.,  att.  17/Bn.). 
Ferrier,  Gilbert  Colin  Cunninghame,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  11/11/14  (7/Bn.,  att. 

4/Bn.). 
Fetherstonhaugh,  Harry,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  25-27/10/14. 
Field,  Arthur  Clarence  Henley,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  4/4/16  (14/Bn.,  att. 

4/S.W.  Borderers). 
Field,  William  James,  M.C.,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.in  a-,  31/7/17. 
Fielding,    Alexander,    M.C.,    2/Lt.    (Tp.),    d.    of    w.,    26/10/18    (att. 

124/L.T.M.B.). 
Fisher,  Percy  Watkins,  2/Lt.,  22/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1 2/9/16. 
Fitch,  Louis  C,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  28/7/18. 
Fitton,  Norman,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  14/11/6  (7/Bn.,  att.  22/Bn.). 
Fitzclarence  Augustus  Arthur  Cornwallis,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  28/6/15. 
Flack,  Wilfred  George,  M.C.,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  7/9/17. 
Fletcher,  Arthur  Joseph,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  33/4/17. 
Fletcher,  Robert  Henry,  Lt.  (Tp.),  14/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/7/16. 
Ford,  A.,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/5/x5- 
Ford,  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  25/Bn.,  died,  16/6/16. 
Ford,  Richard  Nagle,  M.C.,  Capt.  (T/Major),  k.  in  a.,  6/1/18. 
Forster,  Frederick  Albert,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  23/8/15. 
Forster,  Herbert  Cyril,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/5/15. 
Forster,  John,  M.C.,  Capt.  (A/Major),  7/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  2/10/18. 
Forsyth,  Gordon  Amhurst,  2/Lt.,  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/8/16. 
Foster,  Edward,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17. 
Fowler,  Charles  Jefford,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  22/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  1/6/16. 
Fox,  Charles  Joseph,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  29/6/16  (16/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.). 
Francis,  William  Joseph,  2/Lt.,  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/3/18. 
Franklin,  Francis,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/15. 
Franklyn,  Henry,  Capt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.),  k.  in  a.,  8/7/16. 
Fraser,  Donald  Charles,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17  (5/Bn.,  att.  9/Bn.). 
Freston,  Charles  Albert  Edward,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  25/3/18  (5/Bn.,  att. 

23/Bn.). 
Friedberger,  William  Sigismund,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  24/5/15  (3/Bn.,  att.  5/Bn.  \ 


342     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

Fripp,  Joseph,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  died,  12/3/18. 

Fugeman,  William  Alfred,  Capt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/12/17. 

Fuller,  Dunstan  Milley,  M.C.,  Capt.  (Tp.),  n/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/8/17. 

Fuller,  Morris  Richard,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  11/4/17. 

Gaddum,  R.  Charles  Sydney,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/9/16. 

Gardiner,  C.  T.,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  1/6/15. 

Gardiner,  Kenneth  Edward  MacAlpine,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/10/15  (14/Bn., 

att.  8/Bn.  Lond.  Regt.). 
Garnons-Williams,  Richard  Davie,  Lt.-Col.,  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  25/9/15. 
Garrad,   Edward  Victor,   2/Lt.    (Tp.),   k.   in  a.,   22/1/16   (14/Bn.,   att. 

6/N.Lan.  R.). 
Garratt,  Leslie  Thomas,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  3/7/16. 
Gibson,  Pendarves  Christopher  Foil,  Lt.  (Tp.),  I3/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/4/17. 
Gilbert,  Edward  Burton,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  25/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/3/18. 
Gilbert,  John  Ewart,  Capt.  (Tp.),  died,  6/11/18. 
Gilbert,  L.  S.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  4/4/16  (13/Bn.,  att.  8/R.W.  Fus.). 
Gill,  Colin,  2/Lt.,  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 

Gjems,  Albert  Ole  Moller,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/8/17  (5/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.). 
Goddard,  Frederick  Sidney,  2/Lt ,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  15/12/17. 
Goddard,  Philip  Henry  Thomas,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  26/9/16. 
Godfrey,  Frederick,  2/Lt.  (T/Capt.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  16/8/16. 
Goff,  Alfred  Laurence,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  16/1/17  (14/Bn.,  att.  6/L.N. 

Lanes) . 
Goldthorp,  Guy,  Capt,  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17. 
Goodman,  P.  N.,  Capt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/3/16. 
Goolden,  Donald  Charles,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/8/16  (6/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.). 
Gonne,  M.  E.,  M.C.,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/8/18  (and  R.A.F.). 
Gordon,  Alexander  Maurice,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/1/16. 
Gordon,  Gerald  Montague,  Capt.   (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  9/6/17   (5/Bn.,  att. 

12/Bn.). 
Gordon,  S.  E.,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  13/3/15  (6/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.). 
Gorst,  E.  W.,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  25/10/14. 
Gosling,  Frederick  Horace,  2/Lt.,  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a  ,  7/6/17. 
Grady,  Walter  Henry,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  22/4/15  (att.  3/Bn.). 
Granville,  Basil  Raymond,  2/Lt.  (A/Capt.),  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17. 
Gray,  Hubert  McKenzie,  A/Capt.,  n/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/8/17. 
Gray,  John  Hunter  Wood,  T/Capt.  and  Qtm.,  17/Bn.,  died,  17/11/18. 
Greathead,  Alan.  T/Capt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/1 1/1 7. 
Green,  Henry  Morris,  Capt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/8/16. 
Green,  Leslie  Alan,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  13/11/16  (6/Bn.,  att.  23/Bn.). 
Greenwood,  Charles  Stuart,  2/Lt.,  11/Bn.,  died,  21/7/16. 
Gregory,  Stanley  Harris,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,   13/11/16  (15/Bn.,  att. 

24/Bn.). 
Griffith,  Rupert  Varden  De  Burgh,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  12/3/15. 
Griffiths,  Charles  Ridley,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  7/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  1/5/17. 
Griffiths,   Leon   David,   2/Lt.    (Tp.),   d.   of  w.,   29/4/17   (24/Bn.,   att. 

5/T.M.B.). 
Grisot,  Reginald,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6/8/18. 
Gudgeon,  Frederick  Gustavus,  Capt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  28/6/15  (10/Bn., 

att.  2/Bn.). 
Gush,  William  George,  2/Lt.  (Tp.)  (A/Capt.),  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17. 
Guyon,  George  Sutherland,  Lt.-Col.,  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Gwynne-Vaughan,  Kenneth  Duncan,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  15/Bn.   k.  in  a.,  6,'g/i6 

(and33/M.G.C). 
Haddon,  Vernon,  2/Lt.,  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/8/17. 
Hall,  Geoffrey,  M.C.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/1 1/17. 
Hall,  William  Ernest,  Lt.,  5/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/5/15. 
Hamilton,  Albert  Edward,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  18/8/17. 
Hammond,  Robert  Whitehead,  M.C.,  Capt.  (Tp.)  (A/Lt.-Col.),   26/Bn., 

d.  of  w.,  30/9/17. 


THE  ROLL  OF   HONOUR  343 

Hanna,  David  Wishart,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  24/6/16. 
Harding,  Charles  Egerton  Hugh,  Capt.  (Bt. -Major),  died,  10/12/17. 
Harding,  Donald  Stanley,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.)  (A/Capt.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a., 

10/4/17. 
Hardman,  Adrian  Thomas,  Lt.,  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  30/3/16. 
Hardman,  Frederick  McMahon,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  29/10/14. 
Hardy,  Ferdinand  H.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  4/9/16  (2/Bn.,  att.  22/M  G.C.). 
Harrup,  Frederick  Charles  Leonard,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a., 

21/9/18. 
Harter,  Clements  Jesse,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/6/15. 
Harvey,  Albert  Henry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Harvey,  R.  W.,  2/Lt.,  17/Bn.,  died,  22/10/18  (and  R.A.F.). 
Havelock,  Ernest  Wilfrid,  Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  18/9/16. 
Haviland,  John  Doria.  Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  16/7/16. 
Hawkins,    Kenneth  Edwards,   M.C.,    Lt.    (A/Capt.),    7/Bn.,    k.   in   a. 

22/3/18. 
Hawkridge,  Joseph  Arnold,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  6/11/16  (15/Bn.,  att. 

9/Suss.  R.). 
Haycraft,  Alan  Montague,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16  (6/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.). 
Hayes,  Claude  Julian  Patrick,  Capt.  (A.),  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  9/8/16. 
Hayward,  Cecil  Bernard,  Capt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/7/16. 
Hayward,  Edward  John,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  12/11/15  (5/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.). 
Heathcote,  Martin  Arthur,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  18/7/16. 
Heaver,  Douglas  Cams,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/8/16. 
Heinemann,  John  Walter,  Capt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  6/3/16. 
Helmore,  S.  T.  J.,  2/Lt.,  23/Bn.,  killed,  14/5/18  (and  R.A.F.). 
Hendriks,  Augustus  Mark,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/5/15. 
Hendry,  Charles  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/3/18. 
Henley,  Frederick,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/10/16. 
Hersee,  Charles  Patrick  Allen,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.  ,3/3/16. 
Hicks,  Frank  Alan,  M.C.,  Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/8/18. 
Hicks,  Walter  Gerald,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  12/8/15. 
Hiddingh,  Stephen  Van  Der  Poel,  Lt.  (A/Capt.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Hilder,  Maurice  Lake,  M.C.,  Lt.  (T/Capt.),  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17  (5/Bn.,  att. 

23/Bn.). 
Hill,  William  Ernest,  Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  8/8/18. 
Hine,  T.  C,  2/Lt.,  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/7/16. 
Hinton,  Norman  Charles,  2/Lt.,  6/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  4/4/18. 
Hoare,  Walter,   John  Gerald,  D.S.O.,  Capt.   (Tp.),   11/Bn.,   k.  in  a., 

25/10/16. 
Hobbs,  Frank  Matthew,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/9/14. 
Hodding,  James  Douglas,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  10/7/16. 
Hodges,  Charles  Edward,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/6/15. 
Hodges,  Sydney  Howard,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  17/10/14. 
Hodgson,    Michael   Reginald    Kirkman,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,    17/3/15    (att. 

York  L.I. ). 
Hogbin,  Raymond,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 
Holdcroft,  Eric  Crane,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  4/10/17  (Res.,  att.  13/Bn.). 
Holland,  Jack  Harold,  2/Lt.,  22/Bn.,  died,  16/6/18  (and  R.A.F.). 
Hollands,  Wilfrid  George,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  12/10/16  (7/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.). 
Honeywill,  Stanley  Ross,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  8/10/18. 
Hope-Johnstone,    Henry   Murray,    M.C.,    Capt.    (A/Major),    d.    of   w., 

31/7/17  (att.  12/Bn.). 
Hosegood,  Henry  Arnold,  2/Lt.,  5/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/2/15. 
Houghton,  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  9/4/16  (11/Bn.,  att.  15/Bn.)  (att. 

8/R.W.  Fus.). 
Howard,  Leslie  Rayner,  Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/3/16. 
Howells,  David  Geoffrey,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  died,  1/12/18. 
Hudson,  Arthur  Cyril,  Major  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  2/10/16  (att.  11/Bn.). 
Hughes,  Sidney  Russell,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  30/9/18  (23/Bn.,  att.  1  i/Bn), 


344     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Hughes,  William  Francis,  M.C.,  M.M.,  Lt.,  17/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  7/9/18. 

Hugill,  Edwin  Abbott,  Capt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  died,  25/9/17. 

Hugill,  Valentine  Francis  Herbert,  2/Lt.,  16/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  16/10/16  (and 

R.F.C.,  42/Sq.). 
Hume,  Ronald,  Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6/4/17  (and  R.F.C.,  20/Sq.). 
Humphreys,  William  Thomas,  Lt.  (T/Capt.  and  Qr-Mr.),  3/Bn.,  k.  in  a., 

4/10/18. 

Humphrys,   Stewart  Francis,   2/Lt.    (Tp.),   k.   in  a.,  26/8/16  (20/Bn., 

att.  14/Bn.). 
Hunter,  Arthur  Lawrence,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  8/8/18. 
Hyams,  Alec  Hallenstein,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/15  (9/Bn.,  att.  3/Bn  ) 
Illing,  Francis,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  8/5/18  (5/Bn.,  att.  13/Bn.). 
Inghs,  W.  R.,  Col.,  33/Bn.,  died,  30/3/16. 
Ireland,  Joseph  Knowles,  Capt.,  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Isaacs,  Vincent  Harcourt,  2/Lt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/9/18. 
Jackson,  Arthur  Rushton,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  25/4/18 
Jackson,  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  26/Bn.,  20/9/17. 
Jacob,  Arthur  Henry  Augustus,  Lt.,  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  16/7/16. 
Jacobs,  John  Harry,  M.C.,  A/Capt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  11/10/18. 
Jeffcoat,  Stanley  Ferns,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  22/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  29/4/17. 
Jeffreys,  Hubert  Leslie,  2/Lt.,  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/4/17. 
Jepson,  Norman  Richard,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  15/10/15  (14/Bn.,  att. 
2/Bn.). 

Johnson,  Newton  Farring,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  16/8/16  (15/Bn.,  att. 

26/Bn.). 
Johnson,  Robert  Deane,  Capt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6/7/16. 
Judge,  Wilfred  Justice,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  21/8/16  (5/Bn.,  att.  i/Bn  ). 
Juniper,  John  Harvey,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/4/17. 
Kay,  Albert,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/8/17. 
Kaye,  Frank  Leon,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  11/4/17  (5/Bn.,  att.  9/Bn.). 
Kentfield,  Edwin  Nelson,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  17/2/17. 
Kerry,  Albert,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/3/18. 
Kilmister,  Harold  Howard  Linsdell,  M.C.,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  22/8/18  (5/Bn 

att.  9/Bn.). 
Kinahan,  James,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  8/10/18. 
King,  Alan  Howard,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/8/18. 
Knight,  Arthur  George,  Lt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/6/15. 
Knott,  Charles  Singleton,  2/Lt.,  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/3/18. 
Lamb,  Harold  George  Wellesley,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/10/18  (6/Bn.,  att 

10/Bn.). 
Lambert,  George,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  22/4/15. 

Lambert,  Leonard  Walter,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  28/3/18  (att.  4/Bn  ) 
Larcombe,  Henry  Reginald  Reader,  2/Lt.,  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  2/9/17 
Large,  Ronald  Murray,  Lt.  (A/Capt.),  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/11/18. 
Law,  James  Kidston,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  21/9/17  (and  R.F.C.,  60/Sq.). 
Lawford,  Herbert  Martin  Benson,  Capt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a    7/10/16 
Lawrence,  John  James,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/10/18. 
Lawrence,  Norman  Alan,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  30/4/17  (and  R.F.C.,  16/Sq  ). 
Leatherland,  Frederick  Arthur,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  n/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/8/18. 
Lecky,   John  Rupert  Frederick,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  28/9/15  (7/B11     att 

Norf.  R.).  J   v//       " 

Lee,  William  Robert  Charles  Paul,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/7/15  (7/B11.,  att. 

R.  Welsh  Fus.). 
Leeming,  Alfred  Johnson,  2/Lt.  (A./Capt.),  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 
Legge,  Hugo  Molesworth,  Lieut.,  k.  in  a.,  5/5/  15. 
Lelievre,  Albert  Frederic  Henry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  4/8/16. 
Le  Marchant,  S.  H.,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  25/5/15  (6/Bn.,  att.  3/Bn.). 
Lenton,  Harold  Bertram,  2/Lt., 7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/10/17. 
Lethbridge,  Cecil  Augustus,  Lt.,  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Leslie,  Frank  King,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/4/15. 


THE   ROLL   OF   HONOUR  345 

Levi,  Harry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/11/17. 

Lewis,  David  Jacob,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  28/2/17. 

Ling,  Frederick  William,  Capt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/6/17. 

Linstead,  Douglas  Walter,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6/5/16. 

Lipp,  Vernon  Robertson,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 7/6/16  (5/Bn.,  att.  12/Bn.). 

Lissaman,  Arthur  John,  Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/4/17. 

Little,  Norman  James  Richard,  Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  I3/3/1?- 

Long,  William  Charles,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  31/8/18. 

Longman,  Frederick,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  18/10/14. 

Lowe,  George  Stanley,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 8/9/1 8  (att.  9/Bn.). 

Lucas,  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  28/12/17. 

Lupton,  Frank  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  4/8/16. 

Macartney,  Hussey  Burgh  George,  Capt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/6/15. 

Macdougall,  Allen,  Capt.  (Tp.),  22/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/8/16. 

Mackadam,  Harold  James,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/12/17. 

Mackay,  Alexander  William,  M.C.,  Capt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  28/9/17. 

Mackay,  Angus,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  10/5/18. 

Maclean,  Donald  Frederick  Durant,  Major  (Tp.),  died,  10/12/17. 

McCarthy,  Alexander,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  i3/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/8/18. 

McCullum,  Rae  Bruce,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  2/9/17  (4/Bn.,  att.  9/Bn.). 

McGregor,  Ian  Alexander,  2/Lt.   (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,   10/9/16  (2/Bn.,  att. 

2/N'd.  Fus.). 
Mclntyre,  James  Lennie,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  14/5/18. 
McMahon,   Norman  Reginald,   D.S.O.,   Brig. -Gen.,   k.  in  a.,    11/11/14 

(H.Q.  10  Inf.  Bde.). 
McNaught,  Ernest  Henry,  2/Lt.,  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  18/7/16. 
Magnay,  Philip  Magnay,  Capt.  (T/Lt.-Col.),  k.  in  a.,  13/4A7  (att.  12/Bn. 

Manch.  R.). 
Maguire,  Edward  Alphonsus,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  8/10/18  (att.  4/Bn.). 
Malcolm,  Albert  Victor  Sadler,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  17/2/17  (16/Bn.,  att. 

11/Bn.). 
Manson,  John  Cochrane,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/16. 
Marquard,  John,  Lt.  (Tp.),  (A/Capt.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/8/18. 
Marsh,  Harold,  2/Lt.,  5/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/10/18. 
Marshall,  Dudley,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/9/17  (6/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.). 
Marsland,  Eric  Forbes,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16  (6/Bn.,  att.  8/Bn.). 
Martin,  Bertram  Charles,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/4/17. 
Martin,  Harold,  Lt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 

Mason,  Arthur  Edward  Wright,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  2/3/16  (7/Bn.,  att.  8/Bn.). 
Mason,  Royston  Alfred  Robson,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  20/1 1/1 7  (5/Bn.,  att. 

2/Bn.). 
Massey,  Louis  Oger,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/8/16. 
Masters,  Charles  William,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  30/8/17  (5/Bn.,  att.  8/Bn.). 
Masters,  Geoffrey,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  9/4/17. 
Masterton,  Frank,  2/Lt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  5/4/lS- 
Matthews,  Charles  Henry,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  22,3/18. 
Maude,  Gervase  Henry  Francis,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  9/4/17  (att.  8/Bn.). 
Mawdsley,  Norman  Hargreaves,  Lt.,  6/Bn.,  died,  1 7/6/18. 
Mayer,  Frank,  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  3/10/18  (att.  4/Bn.). 
Mead,  Bernard  Wallace,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  2/6/15. 
Mead,  Joesph  Frederick,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/8/14. 
Mead,  Robert  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  2/8/15. 
Meares,  Cecil  Stanley,  Capt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  30/7/16  (19/Bn.,  att.  24/Bn.). 
Mears-Devenish,  John  Augustus,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  22/3/18  (12/Bn., 

att.  i/Bn.). 
Measures,  William  Henry,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  22/8/18  (5/Bn., 

att.  1  i/Bn.). 
Mellor,  Harold  Welton,  Capt.  (Tp.),  died,  28/5/18  (15/Bn.,  att.  2/K.A.R.). 
Menzies,  Alastair  Forbes,  D.S.O.,  Lt.  (Tp.)  (A/Capt.),  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a., 

4/5/iS. 


346     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE   GREAT  WAR 

Mepham,  Horace  Leslie,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  11/4/18  (6/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.). 

Meredith,  Eric  D.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4-10/10/16. 

Meyricke,  Robert  James  Francis,  T/Major  (A/Lt.-Col.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a., 

17/2/17. 
Miall-Smith,  Ralph  A.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  26/9/16. 
Michell,  Noel  Burgess,  Capt.  (Tp.),  n/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/3/18. 
Miles,  John  Harris,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  27/9/15  (7/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.). 
Miles,  Leonard  Percy,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16  (6/Bn.,  att.  8/Bn.). 
Millson,  Alvan  Ewen,  Capt.  (Act.),  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  9/4/17. 
Milway,  Edwin  Horace,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  8/10/18. 
Minchin,  William  Smith,  M.C.,  Capt.  and  Qr.-Mr.,    11/Bn.,  k.    in    a., 

20/4/18. 
Monkman,  Fred  Kerbey,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  28/9/17. 
Morgan,  Albert  Ernest,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/3/15  (att.  R.F.C.). 
Morgan,  F.  J.,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  16/5/18  (and  R.A.F.). 
Morgan,  William  Alfred,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17. 
Morris,  Collin  Dwight,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  14/3/16. 
Mortimer,  Leonard  James,  Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  24/1 1/17. 
Mortlock,  Percy  George,  2/Lt.,  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 
Moscrop,  William  Noel  Jobson,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (A/Capt.),  k  in  a.,  27/5/18 

(att.  5/Durh.  L.I.). 
Mott,  Francis  Stanley,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  23/7/16. 
Mount,  Edward  Alfred,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/1/16. 
Moxon,  Gerald  John  Mortimer,  Capt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/3/16. 
Mullane,  Bernard  Patrick,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  1/4/18. 
Mundey,  Lionel  Clement,  Lt.,  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6/6/15. 
Munds,  Percy,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  7/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  8/10/18. 
Murless,  Herbert  Reginald,  M.C.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  7/2/17  (i/Bn.,  att. 

12/Bn.). 
Murphy,  Harry  Eustace,  Lt.,  1/4/Bn.  (and  R.A.F.),  k.,  22/4/18. 
Murray-Smith,  Geoffrey,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  29/9/15  (6/Bn.,  att.  3/Bn.). 
Nathan,  William  Sylvester,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  14/6/16  (att.  12/Bn.). 
Neate,   Nelson   Rayner,   M.C.,   Capt.,    k.  in  a.,    3/5/17    (11/Bn.,     att. 

H.A.C.). 
Neate,  William,  2/Lt.,  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/3/18. 
Neely,  Clive  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  14/Bn.,  died,  20/6/16. 
Neighbour,  Walter  Bayard,  2/Lt.  (Tp),  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  16/8/16. 
Newcomb,  Cyril,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  25-28/9/15. 
Newland,  Edward  Albert,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/10/18. 
Newnham,  Alfred  Geoffrey,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  11/11/14. 
Nicholls,  John  Watson,  Lt.,  5/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Nicholson,  Albert,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  8/8/18. 
Nicholson,  Bruce  Hills,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17  (6/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.). 
Nicholson,  Edward  Hills,  D.S.O.,  Major,  A/Lt.-Col.,  k.  in  a.,    4/10/18 

(att.  East  Surr.  R.). 
Nield,  Wilfred  Herbert  Everard,  Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Noel,  Honble.  Robert  Edmund  Thomas  More,  Capt.,  died,  2/2/18  (6/Bn., 

att.  i/Nigerian  R.). 
Norman,  Garnet,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  2/4/18. 
Norris,  Cyril  Norman,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  19/8/17. 
Norwell,  Herbert,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  12/4/18  (5/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.). 
Notcutt,  Leonard,  Ernest,  Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17  (and  27/M.G.C). 
Nyren,  Dudley  Richard,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/3/18. 
O'Connor,  Bernard  Joseph,  Lt.  (Tp.),  3/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/10/18. 
Ohlmann,  G.  A.  L.,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  29/9/15. 
Oliver,  Edgar  Alexander,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/7/16- 
Orbell,  Ivan  Scott,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/10/17. 
Osborn,  Ernest  John,  M.C.,  Lt.  (Tp.),(A/Capt.),  d.  of  w.,  13/4/18  (att. 

5/T.M.B.). 
Osborne.  H.  C.  B.  Major  (Tp.),  27/Bn.,  died,  28/6/16. 


THE   ROLL   OF   HONOUR  347 

Osborne,  Robert  Lionel,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.in  a.,  7/7/86  (i4/Bn->  att-  9/Bn.). 

Ottley,  Glendower  George,  Major  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  3/9/16. 

Ozanne,  Edward  Graeme,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  16/2/15. 

Paddock,  William  Francis,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  9/4/17. 

Page-Green,   Reginald  Sebastian,  M.C.,   2/Lt.   (Tp.),   26/Bn.,   k.  in  a, 

22/6/7. 
Paiba,  Ellis  James  Alfred,  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  20/10/15  (15/Bn.,  att.. 

2/Bn.). 
Pallet,  Edward  Roy,  Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6/4/18. 
Palling,  William  Lionel,   2/Lt.    (Tp.),   8/Bn.,    k.    in   a.,    15/3/16    (att. 

iii/T.M.B.). 
Palmer,  Edward  Charles  Maxwell,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17  (13/Bn.,  att 

iii/T.M.B.). 
Palmer,  John  Henry,  Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/7/16. 
Parker,  Walter  Henry,  Lt.  (A/Capt.),  k.  in  a.,  15/6/17  (att.  2/4  Lon.  R.) 
Parkes,  Robert  Lionel,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Parr,  Wilfred  Alexander,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Parr-Dudley,  John  Huskisson,  2/Lt.  (Tp.)  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Parr-Dudley,  Walter,  2/Lt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  5/4/lS- 
Parry,  William  Henry  Liddon,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  29/1 1/16. 
Parsons,  Alfred  Ernest,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Parsons,  George  Jonathan,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  31/8/18  (att.  4/Bn.). 
Patman,  Harold  George,  2/Lt.,  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 
Pattinson,  H.  L.,  Capt.  and  Adj.,  k.  in  a.,  4/8/15  (att.  9/Bn.). 
Payne,  William  Henry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  22/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  17/2/17. 
Pearson,  Angus  John  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  14/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Pearson,  John  Ashworth,  Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/8/16. 
Pearson,  Neil  M.,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a  ,  17/8/16  (5/Bn.,  att.  i/Bn.). 
Peaston,  Leslie  Gordon,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/3/18. 
Peecock,  Edward  Gordon,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/16. 
Pennington,  Harold  Cocking,  Lt.  (Tp.),  i/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  20/6/17. 
Penny,  Bernard  Willoughby,  2/Lt.,  2/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  18/8/17. 
Penny,  Stanley,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  14/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  28/7/16. 
Penrose,  Harold,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  27/3/17  (12/Bn.,  att.  8/Bn.). 
Penrose,  Harold  Wesley,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  26/3/18. 
Penwarden,  William  Francis,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/8/18. 
Perraton,  Frank  Mayvour,  2/Lt.,  22/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/4/17. 
Perrier,  William  Samuel,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/3/16. 
Perry,  Cullen  Hay,  Lt.  (Tp.),  died,  3/2/18  (and  R.F.C.). 
Persse,  Henry  Wilfred,  M.C.,  Capt.  (A/Major),  2/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  28/6/18. 
Phillipps,  The  Honble.  Rowland  Erasmus,  Capt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a., 

7/7/16. 
Phillips,  Sydney,  Capt.,  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  25/10/15. 
Pickop,  James  Taylor  Greer,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  21/6/17. 
Pickop,  William  Bannister  Augustus,  Lt.,  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  24/10/18. 
Pilgrim,  Hugh  Thomas,  M.C.,  Capt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  25/8/18. 
Pincombe,  Lionel  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 
Pinney,  John  Charles  William  Adderley,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/12/17  (i/Bn.,  att. 

38/Horse). 
Pitt,  Geoffery  Stanhope,  T/Capt.,  26/Bn.,  died,  11/2/19. 
Pollak,  Otto  Dennis,  Lt.,  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  8/7/16. 
Porter,  Robert  Ernest,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  10/8/17. 
Portlock,  Alfred  Edgar,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  killed,  6/12/17  (att.  R.F.C.). 
Potts,  Ernest  Alexander,  M.C..  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  15/10/18  (24/Bn., 

att.  10/Bn.). 
Powell,  Eric  Layton,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  16/4/17. 
Pratt,  William  George  James,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  28/9/17. 
Price,  Harold  Strachan,  2/Lt.(  Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  24/5/15. 
Price,  John  Thomas,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn. ,  k.  in  a.,  20/7/16. 
Price-Edwards,  Owen,  Capt      S  Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/6/16. 


348     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Pride,  A.  R.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 

Prior,  H.  L.,  2/Lt.,  died  3/7/18  (1/4/Bn.,  att.  R.A.F.). 

Procter,  Alexander  Duncan  Guthrie,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/16. 

Prynne,  Edgar  George  Fellowes,    T/Lt.   (A/Capt.),  k.     in  a.,   16/9/16 

(4/Bn.,  att.  1/23  Lond.  R.). 
Pugh,  C.  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/10/16. 
Puzey,  Arthur  Kenneth,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  n/n/14. 

Pye,  Francis  John,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/12/16  (5/Bn.,  att.  Gold  Coast  Rgt.). 
Quin,  James  Davidson,  2/Lt.,  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  19/8/18. 
Radcliffe,  David,  Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  18/3/16. 
Radford,  Francis  Buckley,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/3/18  (3/Bn.,  att.  13/Bn.). 
Raine,  George  Stevenson,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.,  1 5/3/17  (26/Bn.,  att.  R.F.C.). 
Ralfs,  Arthur,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  16/9/16  (5/Bn.,  att.  9  Lanes.  Fus.). 
Ramsay,  A.,  Lt.,  5/Bn.,  died,  28/4/15. 
Ramsbottom,   Reginald,   2/Lt.    (Tp.),   k.   in  a.,    29/7/16   (29/Bn.,   att. 

17/Bn.). 
Randall,  Edwin  Walter,  Lt.,  7/B11.,  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17. 
Ranken,  Dudleigh  Chalmers,  Capt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/7/16. 
Rattigan,  Cyril  Stanley,  Capt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/11/16. 
Rattray,  David  Lindsay,  Capt,  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  17/2/17. 
Rawlins,  Gerald  Edmund  Adair,  Capt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/16. 
Rawson,  Stuart  Milner,  Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/7/16. 
Reed,  James  Richard,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/11/17. 
Reed,  Russell  Walter,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  11/10/18. 
Rees,  Eric  Montague,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/10/18  (6/Bn.,  att.  13/Bn.). 
Rigby,  Charles,  Lt.,  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/11/18  (R.A.F.). 
Remington,  Wallace,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/3/18. 
Rennie,  Donald  Williamson,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  11/11/14. 
Richards,  Percival  Morgan,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  15/7/16. 
Richards,  Roland,  Lt.  (Tp.,)  k.  in  a.,  7/12/15  (16/Bn.,  att.  7/R.  Mun. 

Fus.). 
Richardson-Jones,  Charles  Harry,  2/Lt.,  6/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  11/6/16. 
Righton,  Richard  Harry,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  27/9/18  (6/Bn.,  att.  7/Bn.). 
Roberts,  Arthur  Colin,  C.M.G.,  D.S.O.,  Brig. -Gen.,  died,   1 7/5/1 7   (80 

Inf.  Bde.  H.Q.). 
Roberts,  Frederick  Norman,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  3/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  19/11/18. 
Roberts,  Francis,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/10/16. 
Roberts,  William  Arthur,  Lt.  (Tp.),  died,  20/8/17  (30  T.R.B.). 
Robertson,  Barrie  Dow,  2/Lt.  (Tp.)  (A/Capt.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/8/18. 
Robertson-Walker,  Arthur  Murdoch  Maxwell,  Capt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a., 

7/7/16. 
Robinson,  Arthur  Henry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  25/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  11/6/17. 
Robinson,  Thistle,  M.C.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  25/10/18  (att.  26/Bn.). 
Roe,  William  Richard,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  died,  11/5/17  (n/Bn.,  att.  H.A.C.), 

in  German  hands. 
Rogers,  Benjamin  Richard  Corlay,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  17/10/18  (6/Bn.,  att. 

3/Bn.). 
Rogers,  Sheffield  Digby  Kissane,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  14/6/15  (4/Bn.,  att.  North'd 

Fus.). 
Roope,  Charles  Francis,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Roper,  Eric  Walter,  Lt.  and  Adj.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  12/9/16. 
Roper,  William  Frank,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  29/9/18  (11/Bn.,  att. 

54/T.M.B.). 
Roscoe,  Richard  Lang,  M.C.,  Capt.  (Tp.),  22/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  4/2/17. 
Rose,  Theodore  William  Frank,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/4/18. 
Rowe,  Benjamin  Franklin,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/6/17  (and  R.F.C.). 
Royer,  Harold  Ernest,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/9/18. 
Royle,  Dennis  Carlton,  M.C.,  Capt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/8/18. 
Rumball,  George  Thomas  Sydney,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,   13/4/18 

(att.  2/Bn.). 


THE   ROLL   OF   HONOUR  349 

Ryan,  Martin,  Capt.  (Tp.)  (A/Major),  25/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  18/10/17. 
Sampson,  Bertram  George,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  12/2/17. 
Sandall,  Horace  Cecil  Blandford,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  9/3/18  (12/Bn., 

att.  10/Bn.). 
Sanders,  Frederick  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  6/8/18. 
Savage,  William  Howard,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Savours,  Arthur  William,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  2/8/18  (6/Bn.,  att.  11/Bn.). 
Saward,  Ralph,  2/Lt.,  22/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/4/17. 
Sayer,  Leonard  Charles,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  4/7/16. 
Sayer,  Robert  Bramwell,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  19/2/17. 
Schofield,  Cuthbert,  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  25/9/15  (14/Bn.,  att.  12/Bn.). 
Scott,  Arthur  Ernest  Mortimer,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/11/16  (7/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.). 
Scott,  William  David,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/8/17. 
Scott-Miller,  Walter  Dudley,  2/Lt.,  killed,  22/6/17  (att.  R.F.C.). 
Scudamore,  John  Venables,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/4/15. 
Sealy,  Charles  Frederic  Noel  Prince,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  24/5/15. 
Selous,   Frederick  Courteney,   D.S.O.,   Capt.    (Tp.),  25/Bn.,   k.  in  a., 

4/I/I7- 
Seward,  Stanley  Richard,  Lt.  (A/Capt.),  k.  in  a.,  30/10/17  (7/Bn.,  att. 

7/R.  Sco.  Fus.). 
Seymour-Ure,  William  Bruce,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4-10/10/16. 
Shafto,  Thomas  Duncombe,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  2/5/15. 
Shannon,  Richard  Bernard,  Earl  of,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/4/17. 
Sharp,  Humphrey,  Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  5/10/15. 
Sharpe,  Sydney  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  25/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  25/3/18. 
Shaw,  Hugh  James,  Capt.,  k.,  11/11/14  (5/Bn.,  att.  i/Bn.). 
Shaw,  Max  Joseph,  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16  (16/Bn.,  att.  26/Bn.). 
Shaw,  Raymond  Pugh,  Lt.  (T/Capt.),  k.  in  a.,  28/11/15  (5/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.) 
Shaw,  Walter  Douglas,  M.C.,  Lt.   (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  8/11/18  (att.   1/10 

Manch.  R.). 
Shepherd,  Gordon  Strachy,  D.S.O.,  M.C.,  Brig. -Gen.,  k.  in  a.,  19/1/18 

(and  R.F.C.). 
Sherwood,  Clement  Walter,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn. ,  k.  in  a.,  28/1 1/17. 
Shoesmith,  Edward  James,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/6/17. 
Shillingford,  Stanley  Charles,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/6/18  (2/Bn.,  att.  R.A.F.). 
Shorrock,  Thomas  Dudley  Ralph,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 
Shurey,  Charles,  Capt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  21/7/16. 
Sidwell,  Albert  Edward,  M.C.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  9/B11.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/17. 
Simonds,  Ernest  Hugh,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  28/3/18. 
Simmons,  Robert  George,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/3/18. 
Simons.  Leon,  M.C.,  Capt.,  22/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  17/2/17. 
Simpson,  Christopher  Byron,  Capt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Simpson,  John  Parker  Norfolk,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  27/5/15  (5/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.). 
Sims,  Heber  Harold,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  1/9/18. 
Sinclair,  Frank,  Lt.  (Tp.),  drowned,  3/10/18  (att.  Nigeria  Rgt.). 
Skelton,  Harry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  12/10/16. 
Skinner,  Stephen  William,  2/Lt.,  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/10/16. 
Smith,  Arthur  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/9/18. 
Smith,  Dugald,  2/Lt.  (Tp.)  (A/Capt.),  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  8/10/18. 
Smith,  Everard  Cecil,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/8/14. 
Smith,  James  Clement,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/3/16. 
Smith,  Sydney  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 
Smith,  Walter  Wyville,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  18/10/15. 
Snaith,  William  Ernest,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Snelling,  Frederick  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/10/17 
Solomon,  L.  B.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  12/4/18. 
Soro,  William,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  16/4/17. 
Sparks,  James  Elliot,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  21/7/16. 
Sparks,  Robert  Lionel,  2/Lt.,  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/1 1/1 7. 
Speakman,  Alan  Edwards,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  5/9/18  (att.  2/Bn. 


350     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Spence,  Bertram,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  g/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/9/18. 

Spicer,  George  Henry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6/6/18. 

Spooner,  George  Piercy,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  20-23/9/17  (att.  26/Bn.) 

Stables,  Harold  Rolleston,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/11/14  (5/Bn.,  att.  Chesh.  R.). 

Stafford,  Cyril  Francis,  2/Lt.,  24/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  14/4/17. 

Stanlej',  Lawrence  Aston,  2/Lt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/1 1/1 7. 

Stapleton-Brethcrton,  Wilfred  Stanislaus,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/11/14. 

Stearns,  Eric  Gordon,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  7/8/15. 

Steele,  Frederick  Wilberforce  Alexander,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  25-27/10/14. 

Stephens,  Geoffrey  Duncan,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/7/16  (5/Bn.,  att.  i/Bn.,  att. 

T.M.  By.). 
Stephenson,  Rennie,  Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  16/11/16. 
Stevens,  Arthur  Reginald  Ingram,  Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/8/16. 
Stevenson,  Frederick,  2/Lt.,  22/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/4/17. 
Stileman,  Cecil  Herbert,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  29/2/16  (and  R.F.C.,  5/Sq.). 
Stiles,  Arthur  James,  2/Lt.,  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/8/16. 
Still,  Reginald  Sidney  Hewitt,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.  (28/Bn.,  att.  9/Bn.). 
Stirling,  Richard  Kellock,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  21/8/15  (5/Bn.,  att.  i/Bn.). 
Stocker,  Frederick  Luff,  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  23/8/18  (28/Bn.,  att.  20/Bn.). 
Stollery,  John  Cecil,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  24/5/15  (5/Bn.,  att.  Warwicks). 
V.C.     Stone,  Walter  Napleton,  A/Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  30/1 1/1 7  (3/Bn.,  att. 

17/Bn.). 
Stovold,  Grosvenor  Henry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1 0/8/1 7. 
Stoyle,  A.  P.,  Lt.,  died,  27/2/19  (4/Bn.,  att.  R.A.F.). 
Street,  Frank,  Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/7/16. 
Stringer,  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Stuart,  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  6/Bn.,  died,  24/4/18. 
Sykes,  Ronald  Arthur,  Lt.,  7/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  28/4/17. 
Symonds,  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  23/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1 7/2/1 7. 
Symons,  Charles  Handley  Lamphier,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  20/1 1/17  (5/Bn.,  att, 

8/Bn.). 
Tardugno,  Ray,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  7/7/17  (17/Bn.,  att.  R.F.C.,  57/Sq.). 
Tate,  William  Lewis,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  13/3/15. 

Taylor,  Arthur  George  Ernest,  Lt.  (A/Capt.),  7/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  26/5/17. 
Taylor,  Clives  Wailes,  M.C.,  2/Lt.,  17/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  25/2/17. 
Taylor,  Eric  Francis  M.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  27/7/16. 
Taylor,  Francis  Maurice,  Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  15/7/16. 
Taylor,  Maurice,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/3/18  (att.  11/Bn.). 
Tealby,  Harold  Edgar  William,  2/Lt.  (A/Capt.),  k.  in  a.,  5/4/18  (6/Bn., 

att.  7/Bn.). 
Templar,  John  Franklin  Hopwood,  Capt.,  2/Bn.,  died,  8/2/19. 
Thoday,  Albert  Eric,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Thomas-O'Donel,  George  O'Donel  Frederick,  Capt.  and  Adjt.,  k.  in  a. 

16/6/15. 
Thompson,  Albert  Martin,  2/Lt.   (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  21/12/15  (att.    1/15 

Lond.  R.). 
Thompson,   Richard  Henry  Vaughan,   Capt.   (Tp.),    11/Bn.,   k.  in  a., 

26/9/16. 
Thomson,  Spencer,  M.C.,  Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  24/4/17  (14/Bn.,  att.  2/Bn.) 
Thorburn,  R.  W.,  Capt.  (Tp.),  32/Bn  ,  d.  of  w.,  7/8/17. 
Thorp,  Leslie,  2/Lt.,  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  16/11/16. 
Tiffany,  Harry  Waddington,  M.C.,  2/Lt.,  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  15/11/16. 
Toller,  Edward  Northcote,  Capt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/7/16. 
Tothill,  Geoffrey  Ivan  Francis,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/3/16. 
Tower,   Bertie  Christopher  Butler,  M.C.,   Capt.   (A/Major),  d.   of  w. 

22/8/18. 
Tristram,  Eric  Barrington,  2/Lt.  (T/Lt.),  k.  in  a.,  6/9/17  (att.  1/5  Lane. 

Fus.). 
Troup,  Frank  Monck  Mason,  Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/4/17. 
Tupper,  Harold,  2/Lt.,  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  22/7/18. 


THE   ROLL  OF   HONOUR  351 

Turney,  Leonard  William,  Major,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17  (6  Bn.,  att.  8/Bn.). 

Twigg,  Ellis,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1 8/9/1 8. 

Twyman,  Percy  Gedge,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  15/4/17. 

Ullman,  Douglas  Maurice  Jaques,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17. 

Umney,  Basil  Charles  Lovell,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/7/16. 

Underwood,  Edmund  Poole,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  30/7/16  (17/Bn.,  att. 

29/Bn.). 
Undery,  John  Alfred,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  29/10/14. 
Uphill,  Reginald  William  James,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/3/18. 
Usher,  Arthur  Norman,  M.C.,  2/Lt.,  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/11/18. 
Van  Gruisen,  Wilfred,  M.C.,  Lt.,  i/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  1/11/16. 
Vaughan,  John  Montgomery,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  25/5/15. 
Veresmith,  Evelyn  Henry,  2/Lt.   (Tp.),  d.  of  w.,  9/7/16  (14/Bn.,  att. 

9/Bn.). 
Vincent,  George  Samuel,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  4/10/17. 
Waddell.James  Douglas,  Capt.,  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  25/9/15. 
Waddell-Dudley,  Robert  Rowland,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/4/15. 
Wade,  Lawrence  Frank,  2/Lt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  28/8/18. 
Waghorn,  Percy  William.  2/Lt.,  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Waley,  Aubrey  John,  Lt.  (Tp.),  12/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 
Walker,  Alfred  English,  Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/8/16. 
Waller  (Bart.),  Francis  Ernest  (Sir),  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/10/14  (6/Bn., 

att.  4/Bn.). 
Waller,  Richard  Alured,  2/Lt.,  5/Bn.,  died,  1/11/17. 
Wallwork,  Herbert,  Lt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/7/16. 
Walsh,  John,  Major  (Tp.),  22/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  19/2/17. 
Ward,  Eric,  2/Lt.,  10/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  27/2/18. 

Warde,  Brian  Edmund  Douglas,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/6/15  (6/Bn.,  att.  4/Bn.) 
Wardley,  Miles  Edward,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  22/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  29/4/17. 
Wardrop,  John,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  8/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  3/8/16. 
Wason,  Cyril  Ernest,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/1 1/1 7. 
Watt,  Robert,  2/Lt.,  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/8/17. 
Weare,  Frederick  John,  2/Lt.,  4/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  9/10/18. 
Webb,  George  Tudor,  2/Lt.  (Td.),  24/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/4/16. 
Webb,  R.  B.,  Major  (Tp.),  25/Bn.,  died,  26/7/16. 
Wells,  Frederick  Bennett,  2/Lt.,  23/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  10/10/18. 
Wells,  Hurlestone  Vesey,  Capt.,  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  12/4/18. 
Westaway,  Leslie  Thomas,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Whiteman,  Ormonde  Charles,  Capt.  (Tp.),  11/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  22/1 1/1 7. 
Whitworth,  James  Frederick,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  21/3/18  (from  W.  Yorks.). 
Whittall,  Noel  Charles,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  13/9/17  (7/Bn.,  att.  R.F.C., 

6/Sq.). 
Whyte,  Mark  Gilchrist,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  19/8/18. 
Wickham,  Cyril  Henry,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  15/1/15. 
Wiggen,  Robert  Harrison,  M.C.,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  17/2/17  (15/Bn., 

att.  23/Bn.), 
Wilcock,  Maurice  Nettleton,  Lt.,  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  1 8/9/18. 
Willett,  Nelson  Herbert,  2/Lt.,  2/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  11/4/18. 
Williams,  Idris  Havard  Joseph,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  3/6/15. 
Williams,  Rowland,  2/Lt.,  9/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/10/18. 
Williams,  Trevard  Lewis,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  30/10/17. 
Williams,  William  Frederick,  2/Lt.,  17/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  27/9/18. 
Wilmshurst,   Edwin   Roy,   Lt.    (Tp.),   d.   of  w.,    1/12/16   (20/Bn.,   att. 

20/Bn.). 
Wilshin,  J.  H.,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  25/4,18  (6/Bn.,  att.  i/Bn.). 
Wilson,  Arthur  Hone,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  18/11/16  (4/Bn.,  att.  7/Bn.). 
Wilson,  Frederick  Thomas  Austen,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 2/3/1 8  (5/Bn.,  att. 

2/Bn.). 
Withall,  John,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16  (6/Bn.,  att.  8/Bn.). 
Wolfe,  Bernard,  Lt.  (Tp.),  38/Bn.,  died,  20/7/18. 


352     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Wood,  Hector  Frederick,  M.C.,  Capt.,  32/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 

Wood,  Henry,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  19/Bn.,  d.  of  w.,  2/1/16. 

Wood,  Paul  Barnard,  Lt.,  5/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  23/4/17. 

Woodcock,  Cecil  William  Napier,  2/Lt.,  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  14/9/18. 

Woodville-Morgan,  Eric  Theodore,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  20-23/9/17  (6/Bn., 

att.  26/Bn.). 
Wright,  Cecil  Keith  Foylc,  2/Lt.,  10/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  21/8/18. 
Wright,  Eric  Tracey,  Capt.  (Tp.),  20/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  13/3/16. 
Wnght,  George  Bertram,  2/Lt.,  i/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  11/10/18. 
Wright,  Norman  Stanley,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  26/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 
Wright,  Richard  Bertram,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/7/18  (att.  1/6  W.  Yorks.  R.). 
Wright-Ingle,  Cecil  Hubert,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  30/4/16  (19/Bn.,  att. 

2/Lein.  R.). 
Yandle,  Thomas,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  10/4/17. 
Yellen,  Cyril  Francis,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  k.  in  a.,  30/1 1/17  (att.  17/Bn.). 
Young,  James  Cecil,  2/Lt.,  7/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  6/4/18. 
Young,  Rowdon  Morris,  2/Lt.  (Tp.),  13/Bn.,  k.  in  a.,  n/8/16. 
Young,  Henry  Harman,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  24/5/15. 

City  of  London  Regiment  (Royal  Fusiliers), 
ist  Battalion. 

Allender,  John  Harold,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 

Andrew,  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/1 1/1 7. 

Arden,  Reginald  Douglas,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/10/16. 

Atkins,  Leslie  Gordon,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/5/18. 

Auerbach,  Albert  Arthur,  M.C.,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/9/18. 

Balfour,  B.,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/4/18  (and  R.A.F.). 

Barker,  Charles  Haydn,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  8/10/18. 

Barton,  William  Ewart,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  25/8/18. 

Bell,  Kenneth  Frederick  Hamilton,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/9/15. 

Besley,  Howard  Napier,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  29/6/17. 

Bowen,  Rowland  George  P.,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/5/15. 

Buck,  Geoffry  Sebastain,  M.C.,  D.F.C.,  Capt.,   k.  in  a.,   3/9/18  (and 

R.A.F.). 
Burnaby,  Geoffry,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  23/10/16. 
Campbell,  Walter  Stanley,  M.C.,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Carr,  Leslie  George,  M.C.  and  Bar,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  27/4/18. 
Carter,  Cecil  Edward,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/17. 
Chamberlain,  John  Harold,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  21/11/15. 
Chapman,  Fred,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  22/8/18. 
Chichester,  William  George  Cubitt,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 
Coleman,  Sydney,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  14/10/18. 
Collens,  Edwin  Theobald,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  3/9/18. 
Crowe,  Harold  Archer,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  1/6/15. 
Cundall,  Hubert  Walter,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Dickinson,  Lionel  St.  Clair,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/9/16. 
Dowden,  Reginald  Stanley,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 6/8/1 7. 
Eiloart,  Frank  Oswald,  A/Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Fry,  John  Desford,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 
Glover,  Richard  Bowie  Gaskell,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  5/11/15. 
Harper,  Reginald  Alexander,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  1 6/9/1 7. 
Heaton,  Norman  Child,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Henderson,  Alec  Stuart,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  25/4/15. 
Hill,  Gerald  Stanley,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 
Houghton,  John  Reginald,  M.C,  A/Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  21/3/18. 
Huggins,  Douglas  Frank,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  29/8/18. 
Johnson,  Edmund  George,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  24/8/18. 
Kekewich,  George  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  28/10/17. 
Le  Tall,  Cyril  Herbert,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  30/8/18. 


THE   ROLL  OF  HONOUR  353 

Long,  Daniel  Edward,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  28/5/18. 

Martin,  Edwin,  John,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  4/9/18. 

Mayer,  Gerald  Max,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  1 6/2/1 7. 

Mews,  John  Keith,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  24/8/18. 

Meyers,  Stanley  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 

Mockford,  Joseph,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  8/4/17. 

Mouat,  George  Mouat  Dundas,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  9-10/5/15. 

Mytton,  Richard,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  3/10/16. 

Naylor,  James  Reginald,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 

Newall,  Leslie,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  2/9/15. 

Nunn,  Frederick  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  2/4/18  (R.A.F.). 

Parslow,  William  Hunt,  A/Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  10/8/18. 

Petley,  Hugh,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 6/9/1 6. 

Prentice,  Oliver,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  27/3/18. 

Richards,  Robert  Ingram,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  27/10/17. 

Rowland,  Cyril  William,  M.C.,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/8/18. 

Scott,  Ronald  Burrell  Ind,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/9/16. 

Seaverns,  Joel,  Harrison,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  10/5/15. 

Shail,  William  Archibald,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/8/17. 

Sheasby,  Edwin  William,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 

Smith,  Duncan  Vaughan,  D.S.O.,  Lt.-Col.,  d.  of  w.,  1 3/4/1 7. 

Snowdon,  Henry  Frederick,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  6/10/16. 

Snowdon,  Sidney  Frank,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 

Stapleton,  Harold  Frederick,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 5/9/1 6. 

Stevens,  William  Philip,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/8/18. 

Townend,  Cecil  Pelham,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  24/9/16. 

Vawser,  Thomas  Edmund,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  21-23/3/18. 

Waddams,  Walter  Herbert  Leonard,  M.C.,  A/Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  12/4/17. 

Westlake,  Geoffrey  Arthur,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7-8/10/16. 

Wilkinson,  Eyre  Spencer,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  12/1/16  (and  R.F.C.). 

Williams,  Harold  Edward,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7-8/10/16. 

Wilson,  David  Oliver,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  8/10/16. 

City  of  London  Regiment  (Royal  Fusiliers). 
2nd  Battalion. 

Bennett,  Harold  Percy,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  21/3/18. 

Buxton,  Bertie  Reginald,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/ 16. 

Child,  David  Leshe,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  11/9/16. 

Clayton,  Albert  James,  M.C.,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  24/8/18. 

Cooke,  George  Josiah,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/11/17  (and  R.F.C.). 

Coppen,  William  Joseph,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  2/11/17. 

Falkner,  Clarence  Beach,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/10/17. 

Farley,  Frederick  Albert,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 

Fradd,  Kingsley  Meredith  Chatterton,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16  (M.G.C.)« 

Gant,  Harold  Holden,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/9/18. 

Garland,  James  Richard,  T/Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 

Gordon,  Colin,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/8/17. 

Gosnell,  Harold  Clifford,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 

Grainger,  John  Scott,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 

Gretton,  Horace  Edward,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/8/17. 

Hammond,  Frederic  Robert  Cyprian,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  6/7/15, 

Handyside,  Percy  James  Alexander,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16, 

Hawkins,  Harold  Engleby,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/6/17. 

Heagerty,  Richard  Browne,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 

Heaumann,  Richard,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  8-10/9/16. 

Henderson,  Graeme  Von  Hope,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/6/17. 

Howard,  Herbert  Quey,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/8/18. 

Inwards,  Horatio,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/6/17. 

Jepson,  Arthur  George  Leslie,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/9/16. 

F.  A  A 


354     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Keen,  Stephen  Whitworth,  M.C.,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  21/8/18  (and  R.A.F.) 

Lockey,  Ernest  William,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8-10/9/16. 

Long,  James  William,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  8-10/9/16. 

McMurray,  Stuart,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/8/17  (and  R.F.C.). 

Martin,  Stanley,  M.M.,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  18/9/18. 

Merrikin,  George  Houlden,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  27/8/18. 

Missen,  Edward  Roland  Cecil,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  4/10/18. 

Murray,  Cyril,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/8/17. 

Noel,  Alfred,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 

Perris,  Noel  Frederick,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  20/7/18  (and  R.A.F.). 

Preedy,  John  Benjamin  Knowlton,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 

Prince,  Frederick  George,  2/Lt.,  k.,  18/5/19  (and  R.A.F.) . 

Rawle,  William  Richard,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  8/8/18. 

Richardson,  John  Ernest,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/5/15. 

Rolleston,  Francis  Launcelot,  2/Lt.,  k.,  26/4/15. 

Royce,  R.  Francis,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/9/18. 

St.  Leger,  St.  John  Richard,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15-1 7/9/16. 

Skeet,  John  Richard,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  27/4/18. 

Smoothy,  Albert  Victor,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  9/11/18. 

Solley,  Bernard  John,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/8/18. 

Spong,  Frederick  William  Edward,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  2/8/17  (in  German 

hands) . 
Stacey,  Gerald  Arthur,  D.S.O.,  Major,  k.  in  a.,  9/10/16. 
Starling,  Benjamin  Alfred,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/3/18. 
Stockley,  Harold  Brodie,  Lt.,  killed,  22/7/18  (R.A.F.). 
Strange,  William  Frederick,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Stubbs,  Cecil  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  2/7/16. 
Sullivan,  Arthur  John,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 
Symes,  John  Bond,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Taylor,  Philip  Charton,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 
Thorman,  Alan  Marshall,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Urcell,  William,  Lt.,  died,  4/11/18. 
Walton,  Frank  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/9/17. 
Williams,  Henry  Evan  Vincent,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  22/5/17. 
Winterbourne,  Frank  Thomas,  Capt.,  drowned,  10/10/18. 
Wright,  John  George  William,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  11/5/17. 

City  of  London  Regiment  (Royal  Fustmers). 
3RD  Battalion. 

Aberdeen,  Louis  Frederick,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/9/16. 

Agius,  Richard  Victor  Joseph  Roy,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 

Arnold,   Leonard   Frank   Cecil,   M.C.,   Lt.,   d.   of  w.,    2 1/12/ 19    (alt. 

82/Punjabs). 
Atkins,  Arthur  Charles,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/9/16. 
Austen,  Edward  John,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  21-23/3/18. 
Barton,  Harry,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  22/3/18. 

Be-esl'ord,  Percy  William,  D.S.O.,  Lt.-Col.,  d.  of  w.,  26/10/17. 
Burgess,  Harold  Torrence,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  2/4/17. 
Burrows,  William  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 
Cahill,  Alfred  Gilbert,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/10/16. 
Christmas,  Bernard  Lovell,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  11/5/16. 
Clarke,  Eric  Fitzgerald,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/4/17. 
Crichton,  Cyril  William  Alfred,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/3/15. 
Cummins,  Thomas  Morris,  Lt.,  died,  7/11/18. 
Curtis,  Arthur,  M.C.,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  27/8/18. 
Davison,  Rutherford  Willoughby,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  10/10/16. 
Ferris,  Alfred  William,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  5/3/17. 
Fraser,  Charles  Douglas,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  22/3/18. 
Gedge,  Cecil  Bertie,  2/Lt.,'k.  in  a.,  25/9/15. 


THE  ROLL  OF   HONOUR  355 

Groves,  Robert  Harry,  M.C.,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  12/4/17. 

Gunn,  Walter  Roderick  Hamilton,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/9/18. 

Gunton,  Reginald  Oliver,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  21/3/18. 

Haines,  Herbert  Henry,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/5/17- 

Hall,  Hugh  Wilfred,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  I5/5/I7- 

Hard,  William  Thomas,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/3/18. 

Howard,  Francis  Stanley,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  28/1 1/15. 

Howell     Arthur  Anthony,   C.M.G.,   T.D.,   Lt.-Col.,    (T/B.-Gen.),   died 

x5/i/i8.  .  o     o 

Jeffree,  Johnson  Vivian,  2/Lt.,  k.  m  a.,  10/8/18. 
Jeffries,  Thomas,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  14/8/17. 
Jones,  David  William  Llewellyn,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  2/7/16. 
Jones,  John  Llewelyn  Thomas,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/8/17. 
Jones,  Thomas  Capel,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 
Knight,  Edgar  Frederick,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  28/5/16. 
Knott,  Stuart  Wallace,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  24/4/18. 
Lee,  C.  P.,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  22/10/18  (att.  R.A.F.). 
Lidiard,  Richard  John  Abraham,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16, 
Luscombe,  Henry,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  11/4/17. 
Lynch-Staunton,  Eric  Margrave,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/5/1?- 
Mason,  Charles  Henry,  M.C.,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  10/9/18. 
Mathieson,  Herbert  Gerard,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/3/15. 
Minshull,  John  Lewis,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  2/4/17. 
Moorey,  William  Edward,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 
Morrison,  Arnold,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 
Newson,  Walter  Alexander,  Major,  died,  1 5/4/1 7. 
Odell,  Oliver  Henry  Cecil,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/9/16. 
Oldrey,  Montague,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 
Parry,  William  Norman  Maule,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,    19/8/17  (in  German 

hands). 
Pulman,  Harry  Robert  Sauve,  Capt.,  k.,  10/3/15. 
Randall,  Albert  William,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/8/18. 
Ring,  Leslie  Gordon,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  18/9/18. 
Rodd,  Frederick  Trevor,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/^/17. 
Scarlett,  Harold  Ernest,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 7/9/16. 
Sheffield,  Ralph  David,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/6/17. 
Smith,  Harold  Spencer,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/18  (att-  R-A.F.). 
Smith,  Raymond  Alexander,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Starling,  Frederick  Leslie,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  13/9/16. 
Stephens,  John  Lockhart,  Lt.,  k.,  10/3/15. 
Stuart,  Herbert  Gordon,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  7/3/19- 
Taylor,  Gilbert  Leslie  Frederic,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  26/8/17. 
Thomas,  James  Leonard,  Capt.,  k.,  28/2/17  (an(i  R  F.C.). 
Watts,  Leonard,  M.M.,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/10/18. 
Wharton,  Christopher  Willis,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 
Whiddett,  Horace,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  27/8/18. 
Wybrants,  John  Holman,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  30/7/18. 

City  of  London  Regiment  (Royal  Fusiliers). 
4TH  Battalion. 

Atterbury,  Lewis  John  Rowley,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 
Backler,  Alfred  Milne,  2/Lt.,  died,  25/5/18  (R.A.F.). 
Blows,  Cyril  Sydney  George,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/9/16. 
Bottomley,  Eric  William,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/6/17. 
Bradford,  Frederick  Reith  Campbell,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 
Brodie,  Colin  James,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/9/16. 
Brown,  Norman  Algernon,  2/Lt.,  died,  1/3/19. 
Butcher,  Clarence  Edward,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 
Campkin,  Reginald  Ernest,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  28/3/18. 

a  a  2 


356     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

Carlisle,  Frederick  Albert,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 5/9/1 7. 

Clarke,  Edward  Rupert,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/4/17. 

Coates,  Alan  David,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  27-28/4/15. 

Colomb,  George  Lushington,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  22/1 1/16  (R.F.C.). 

Colomb,  Mervyn  William,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  11/5/15  (R.F.C.). 

Giles,  Eric,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  16/7/16. 

Goodes,  George  Leonard,  M.C.  and  Bar,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  6/10/16. 

Davey,  William  Henry,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/9/16. 

Davis,  Harold  Charles,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  4/4/17. 

Edkins,  Charles,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  29/10/18. 

Elliott,  John  Benjamin  George,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/8/17. 

Evans,  John  Baynes,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/3/18. 

Ewing,  Gordon  Craig,  M.C,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  20/9/18. 

Fanghanel,  Frederick  Charles,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 

Foden,  Frank  Joseph,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/9/16. 

Garner,  Edward  Harold,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  27/8/18. 

Geering,  Sydney  Cecil,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  3/5/18  (P.  of  W., . 

Gifford,  William  Roy,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 

Hannay,  Herbert  Thomas,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  28/3/18. 

Haycraft,  Leonard  Courtenay,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 

Hewlett,  Harold  Alcester  Tom,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  23/8/18. 

Humphrey,  William  Pryn,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  27/5/18. 

Hunt,  Frederick  Frank,  2/Lt.  (T/Lt.),  k.  in  a.,  27/6/15. 

Jones,  Harry,  Lt.,  k.,  15/5/18. 

Langton,  Hugh  Gordon,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  26/10/17. 

Leake,  George  Ernest  Arthur,  D.S.O.,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  2/6/17. 

Lewis,  Charles  Edward,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/9/16. 

Mansbridge,  William  Kenneth  Elliott,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  4/10/17. 

Mawby,  Thomas  Henry,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  24/6/18. 

Monk,  Ernest  William,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  29/3/18  (R.F.C.). 

Moody,  Thomas,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/7/16. 

Moore,  Arthur  Robert,  M.C,  Capt.,  died,  1/7/16  (in  German  hands). 

Mortleman,  Charles  Ibbetson,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  9/9/16. 

Oldrey,  Vernon  Roy,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  31/8/18. 

Osborne,  William  Edward,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  11/9/16. 

Pratt,  Ernest  Charles,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  14/5/17. 

Prince,  Victor  Charles,  M.C,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1/9/18. 

Rix,  Leslie  Gordon,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  11/2/17, 

Saunders,  Charles  Robert  Edgar,  Capt.,  d.  of  w.,  28/4/15. 

Scougall,  Douglas  Muir,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  4/5/17. 

Shaw,  Thomas  Charles  Whitehall,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  24/8/18. 

Smith,  Brian  Rivers,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  8/8/18. 

Speyer,  Cecil  Arthur,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  1 6/8/1 7. 

Spicer,  Eric  Evan,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  28/3/18. 

Stavert,  Robert  Elliott,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  25/8/18. 

Stedman,  Philip  Bertram  Kirk,  Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  19/8/16. 

Stoaling,  Thomas,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  14/5/17. 

Sylvester,  George  Harry,  2/Lt.,  d.  of  w.,  4/11/18. 

Taylor,  Cecil  Meakin,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 

Taylor,  Herbert  Berwick,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  31/7/17. 

Towse,  William  Norman,  Capt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/9/16. 

Vernon,  William  Hams,  Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  7/10/16. 

Waters,  Bernard  Stanley,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  3/5/17. 

Webster,  Walter  Henry,  D.S.O.,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  10/2/17. 

Wheatley,  Joseph  Horace  Lyncham,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  15/6/17. 

Wreford,  Leslie  Warren,  2/Lt.,  k.  in  a.,  16/8/17. 

Yeoman,  Basil  Frank  Lawson,  2/Lt.,  died,  11/5/1S  (R.A.F.) 

Total     .  .      1,054 


THE   ROLL   OF   HONOUR 


357 


WARRANT  OFFICERS,  NON-COMMISSIONED   OFFICERS  AND 

MEN. 


Battalion. 

Name  of  Battalion. 

Description 

Numbers. 

Depot 

Royal  Fusiliers  . 



29 

ISt     . 

II                            11 

Regular 

747 

2nd  . 

II                            M 

11           ■ 

i,399 

3rd    . 

II                            II 

11           • 

765 

4th    . 

II                            II 

11 

1,642 

5th    . 

11                            II 

Special  Reserve 

35 

6th    . 

II                            II 

11             n 

21 

7th    . 

II                            II 

11             11 

818 

ISt     . 

II                            II 

Territorial  Force 

1,667 

2nd 

II                            II 

11               11 

1,279 

3rd   . 

II                            II 

11               11 

1,274 

4th    . 

II                            II 

11               11 

1. 146 

Posted  from 

other  Corps  to 

ISt     . 

Royal  Fusiliers 

n               11 

23 

1  /2nd 

11             11 

'!                                    II 

32 

2/2nd 

11              11 

Jt                                    II 

322 

3rd   . 

n              11 

II                                    II 

146 

1 /4th 

n              11 

II                                    II 

46 

2 /4th 

11              11 

II                                    II 

163 

8th   . 

11              11 

Service  Battalioi 

1          .           1,021 

9th    . 

11             tt 

11             11 

1.333 

10th 

11              11 

11             11 

728 

nth 

11              11 

11             11 

979 

12th 

11             n 

n             11 

443 

13th 

11              n 

n             11 

738 

17th 

11              11 

Empire 

519 

18th 

11              11 

Public  Schools 

22 

19th 

11              11 

11           11 

33 

20th 

11              11 

11           11 

566 

2ISt  . 

n              11 

11           11 

18 

22nd 

ii             11 

Kensington 

440 

23rd 

11              11 

Sportsman's 

723 

24th 

ii              11 

Recruits     . 

2 

24th 

11             11 

Sportsman's 

534 

25th 

11              n 

Frontiersmen's 

127 

26th 

11              11 

Bankers'    . 

498 

27th 

11              11 

Training  Reserve 

N            .                          4 

31st . 

11              11 

11               11 

18 

32nd 

11              11 

11               11 

5 

32nd 

11              11 

East  Ham. 

403 

34th 

11              11 

Labour 

27 

35th 

11              11 

11             *          • 

1 

36th 

11             11 

— 

1 

37th 

11              11 

Labour 

13 

38th 

11              n 

| 

39th 

II                          M 

Jewish 

50 

40th 

II                         II 

I 

43rd 

II                         II                 ' 

Garrison  Battalic 

HI         .                      20 

44th 

II                         II                 ' 

— 

6 

45th 

II                         II 

— 

41 

46th 

II                         II 

— 

14 

103rd 

II                         II 

Training  Reserve 

2 

105th 

II                         II 

11               11 

3 

10th 

II                         II 

Intelligence 

1 

20,887 

358    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 


C/3 


fa 

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< 

o 
w 


Mentioned  in 

War  Office 
Communique. 

62 

Despatches. 

33 

I!  S 

Egyptian. 

Order  of  the 

Nile  (i) 

Mentioned 

in 
Despatches. 

780 

decorations. 
Mentioned  in 

Grecian. 
Order   of    Re- 
deemer (2) 

Air 
Force 
Cross. 

00  « 
N      00  w 

ist  Bar 

to 
D.F.C. 

O 

M       H 

Italian. 
Crown    of    Italy 

(3) 
St.  Maurice  and 

St.  Lazarus  (4) 
Croce  di  Guerra 

(2) 

(J 
Q 

CO 

3rd  Bar 

to 

M.C. 

M 

Serbian. 

Order  of  White 
Eagle  with 
Swords  (2) 

Order  of  Sacred 
Treasure  (1) 

2nd  Bar 

to 

M.C. 

CO 

ist  Bar 

to 

M.C. 

10 

Russian. 
Order    of    St. 

Stanislas  (2) 
Order    of    St. 

Anne  (i) 

<J 

H 
u-1 

10 

s 

Belgian. 

Ordre  de  la 
Couronne  (3) 

Ordre  de  Leo- 
pold (1) 

O.B.E. 

2nd  Bar 

to 
D.S.O. 

M 

Panama. 
Medal  of  Soli- 
daridad,  3rd 
Class  (2) 

ist  Bar 

to 
D.S.O. 

H 

D.S.O. 

CI 

Chinese. 
Order  of  Wen 
Hu,4th  Class 
(1) 

C.B.E. 

5 

as 
0 

CO 

French. 

Ordre  du    Merite 

(1) 
Croix    de  Guerre 

(41) 
Croix  de  la  Legion 
d'Honneur  (23) 

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fa 

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GENERAL  OFFICERS 

It  would  be  almost  impossible  to  trace  every  Royal 
Fusilier  who  was  employed  extra-regimentally,  and  if  this 
could  be  achieved  it  is  doubtful  whether  such  a  catalogue 
would  be  of  general  interest.  After  giving  the  most  prominent 
names,  the  author  cannot  pretend  to  have  done  more  than 
follow  the  caprice  of  his  material.  Where  it  seemed  sufficient 
to  form  at  least  an  outline  picture  inclusion  has  been  justified  ; 
where  the  facts  missing  were  obviously  more  important  than 
those  available  it  has  seemed  better  to  omit  these  biographies. 

Major-General  E.  Cooper,  C.B.,  M.V.O.,  D.S.O.,  com- 
manded the  46th  Brigade  from  August  to  November,  1914, 
when  he  took  over  command  of  the  13th  Brigade  in  France 
until  February,  1915.  Between  May,  1915,  and  September, 
1916,  he  commanded  the  2/1  London  Division,  afterwards  the 
58th  Division,  in  England.  He  was  later  in  charge  of  Section  3, 
Portsmouth  Defences,  and  No.  2,  Dover  Brigade,  until  January, 
1918,  when  he  became  the  National  Service  representative  at 
Paddington. 

Major-General  C.  G.  Donald,  C.B.,  went  to  India  on  the 
outbreak  of  war  in  command  of  the  Wessex  Division  (Terri- 
torial Force).  In  India  he  was  appointed  Inspector  of  Terri- 
torials, and  on  his  return,  in  1915,  was  appointed  G.O.C. 
Reserve  Division  in  the  Western  Command,  England,  and 
afterwards  G.O.C.  the  Western  Reserve  Centre.  He  was 
awarded  the  C.B.E. 

Major-General  Sir  W.  B.  Hickie  went  to  France  in  1914  as 
A.Q.M.G.  2nd  Army  Corps,  and  was  appointed  D.A.  and 
Q.M.G.  with  rank  of  brigadier-general  during  the  Mons  retreat. 
He  commanded  the  13th  Infantry  Brigade  at  the  battle  of  the 
Aisne,  and  afterwards  the  53rd  Infantry  Brigade,  until  pro- 
moted in  December,  1915,  to  command  16th  (Irish)  Division. 
He  remained  in  command  till  this  division  was  broken  up  in 
April,  1918,  and  took  part  in  all  its  battles.  He  was  mentioned 
six  times  in  despatches,  promoted  major-general,  and  received 
the  K.C.B.  and  French  Croix  de  Guerre. 


360    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

Major-General  Sir  Sydney  Lawford  commanded  the 
22nd  Infantry  Brigade  of  the  "  immortal  Seventh  Division  " 
from  September,  1914,  to  September,  1915.     With  it  he  took 
part  in  all  the  engagements  of  the  division  from  the  advance 
from  Zeebrugge  into  Belgium  to  the  first  battle  of  Ypres. 
General  Lawford  had  some  very  striking  escapes  from  death 
in  these  days.    On  one  occasion,  being  in  a  hurry  and  on  foot, 
he  borrowed  a  gunner's  horse  which  he  found  tied  to  a  tree. 
On  completing  his  tour  he  was  galloping  past  the  spot  where  he 
had  first  found  the  horse  when  a  shell  practically  took  the 
horse's  head  off  without  its  rider  suffering  a  scratch.     The 
brigade  also  took  part  in  the  battles  of  Auber's  Ridge  and 
Festubert,    1915.      Promoted    temporary    major-general    in 
September,  1915,  he  proceeded  to  England,  raised  and  trained 
the  41st  Division  (which  contained  the  26th  and  32nd  Battalions 
Royal  Fusiliers),  and  took  it  to  France,  May  2nd,  1916.    The 
division  captured  Flers  (September  15th,  1916)  ;   took  part  in 
another  general  attack,  October  25th  to  28th,  1916  ;  advanced 
nearly  3,300  yards  and  took  the  Dammstrasse  in  the  battle  of 
Messines,  1917  ;  co-operated  in  the  battle  of  Ypres,  1917,  near 
Hill  60  (July  31st),  and  at  Menin  road  (September  21st).    The 
division  went  to  Italy  in  November,  1917,  and  on  returning  to 
France  in  March  became  involved  in  the  fighting  during  the 
German  offensive  from  March  22nd.    After  a  fortnight's  hard 
fighting  the  division  was  sent  to  the  line  covering  Ypres,  took 
part  in  the  general  advance,  crossing  the  Lys  at  Cambrai  and 
the  Scheldt  at  Kerkove,  reaching  Grammont  on  November  nth, 
1918.    The  division  marched  into  Germany  and  held  part  of  the 
Cologne  bridgehead.    General  Lawford  was  awarded  the  C.B. 
in  January,  1915  ;    the  K.C.B.  in  January,  1918  ;    the  War 
Medal,   1914-19  ;    the  Victory  Medal  and  Mons  Star;    the 
Order  of  St.  Vladimir,  Third  Class ;    Commandership  of  the 
Legion  of  Honour  and  Croix  de  Guerre  ;  the  Order  of  Leopold 
and  the  Belgian  Croix  de  Guerre,  and  the  Order  of  St.  Maurice 
and  Lazarus. 

Major-General  R.  S.  May  served  on  the  Staff  in  various 
capacities,  beginning  as  G.S.O.,  third  grade,  on  the  lines  of 
communication.  Later  on  he  was  appointed  deputy  quarter- 
master-general at  G.H.Q.  in  France.  Mentioned  in  despatches 
no  less  than  eight  times,  he  received  the  C.B.,  C.M.G.,  and 
D.S.O.,  and  numerous  foreign  decorations. 

Major-General  Sir  R.  Pinney  in  1914  and  1915  com- 


GENERAL   OFFICERS  361 

manded  the  23rd  Infantry  Brigade  in  France,  and  took  part  in 
the  battle  of  Neuve  Chapelle.  He  was  promoted  major-general, 
and  in  1916  commanded  the  35th  (Bantam)  Division  ;  and 
subsequently,  from  September,  1916,  to  end  of  the  war,  he 
commanded  the  33rd  Division.  He  was  awarded  the  K.C.B. 
and  Legion  of  Honour. 

Major-General  Sir  Charles  V.  F.  Townshend,  M.P., 
C.B.,  D.S.O.,  took  command  of  the  6th  Division  in  Mesopotamia 
in  May,  1915.  The  division  had  been  concentrated  for  the 
advance  up  the  Tigris  ;  and  after  defeating  the  Turks  in  the 
second  action  of  Qurna,  May  31st,  1915,  he  pushed  up  the  river 
in  H.M.S.  Comet  to  Amara,  and  received  the  surrender  of  the 
Turkish  force  there.  On  August  1st  the  division  began  their 
advance  against  Kut-el-Amara,  which  was  occupied  on  Sep- 
tember 29th,  after  a  brilliant  little  action  extending  over  two 
days.  The  advance  was  continued  towards  Baghdad,  and  at 
Ctesiphon  a  heavy  battle  was  fought  on  November  22nd  to 
24th,  after  which  the  division  fell  back  to  Kut.  On  Decem- 
ber 7th  the  town  was  closely  invested,  and,  despite  the  attempts 
to  relieve  him,  General  Townshend  had  to  surrender  on 
April  29th.  He  remained  a  prisoner  in  Turkish  hands  until 
October  17th,  1918,  when  he  left  for  Smyrna  to  initiate  peace 
pourparlers  on  behalf  of  the  Turks.  He  reached  Mitylene  on 
October  20th,  and  telegraphed  a  long  message  to  the  Foreign 
Office.  The  peace  negotiations  thus  begun  were  carried  to  a 
successful  issue,  and  General  Townshend  made  his  way  home. 

Brig. -General  L.  F.  Ashburner  was  present  at  the  Suvla 
landing  as  brigade  major  of  the  34th  Brigade,  and  later  on  com- 
manded the  96th  Brigade  at  Messines.  He  was  five  times 
mentioned  in  despatches,  and  for  a  time  was  Inspector  of 
Infantry  in  England. 

Brig. -General  R.  Barnett-Barker,  D.S.O.,  assisted  in 
the  organisation  and  training  of  the  22nd  Royal  Fusiliers  as 
second  in  command,  and  went  to  France  as  lieutenant-colonel 
in  command  of  them  at  the  end  of  1915.  He  was  appointed  in 
November,  1917,  to  the  command  of  the  3rd  Brigade,  and  in 
January,  1918,  was  transferred  to  the  99th  Brigade.  He  was 
killed  in  action  on  March  25th,  1918. 

Brig. -General  G.  K.  Cockerill  was  in  command  of  the  7th 
Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers  at  the  outbreak  of  war  ;  but  before 
the  battalion  left  for  France  he  was  moved  to  the  War  Office  as 
Director  of  Special  Intelligence,  where  he  rendered  very  valu- 


362     ROYAL  FUSILIERS  IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

able  service.  He  was  awarded  the  C.B.,  became  a  Commander 
of  the  Legion  of  Honour,  and,  in  addition  to  Japanese  and  Rus- 
sian orders,  he  received  the  Orders  of  the  Crown  of  Belgium  and 
Crown  of  Italy. 

Brig.-General  T.  G.  Cope  commanded  the  176th  Infantry 
Brigade,  and  was  awarded  the  C.M.G.  and  D.S.O. 

Brig.-General  C.  J.  Hickie  commanded  the  7th  Infantry 
Brigade. 

Brig.-General  E.  T.  Le  Marchant  commanded  a  brigade 
during  1915  and  1916,  at  first  with  the  temporary  rank  of 
colonel  and  graded  for  pay  as  A.A.G.,  and  later  as  temporary 
brigadier-general  in  command  of  the  190th  Brigade  while  they 
were  devoted  to  coast  defence  and  draft-finding.  In  1917  he  was 
attached  to  the  Staff  in  France.     He  was  awarded  the  C.B.E. 

Brig.-General  H.  Newenham  commanded  the  2nd 
Battalion  in  the  landing  at  Gallipoli  and  was  severely  wounded. 
He  was  later  employed  in  the  War  Office  and  in  command  of 
an  area.    He  was  awarded  the  C.B.  for  his  services  at  Gallipoli. 

Brig.-General  B.  G.  Price  was  a  major  in  the  1st  Battalion 
R.F.  from  August,  1914,  to  April  5th,  1915,  when  he  received  the 
brevet  of  lieutenant-colonel  and  took  command  of  the  7th  Bat- 
talion Warwickshire  Regiment.  In  July  of  the  same  year  he  was 
in  command  of  the  1st  Battalion  R.F.  as  lieutenant-colonel  until 
February  5th,  1916,  when  he  became  brigadier-general  com- 
manding the  150th  Infantry  Brigade.  He  took  part  in  all  the 
battles  of  his  brigade  until  March  1st,  1918,  when  he  went  to 
Plymouth  and  remained  there  till  October  1st,  1918.  From 
October  20th  until  the  Armistice  he  commanded  the  152nd  LB. 
in  its  advance  from  the  Scheldt  to  Mons.  He  received  the 
brevet  of  colonel,  and  was  awarded  the  C.B.,  C.M.G. ,  D.S.O., 
and  several  foreign  orders. 

Brig.-General  A.  C.  Roberts,  C.M.G.,  D.S.O.,  commanded 
the  3rd  Battalion  in  France  and  Salonika,  and  was  promoted  to 
a  brigade  in  the  latter  theatre. 

Brig.-General  Gordon  S.  Shephard,  D.S.O. ,  M.C.,  flew 
over  to  France  with  the  first  five  squadrons  on  August  13th, 
1914.  He  received  the  Legion  of  Honour  from  General  Joffre 
for  good  reconnaissance  work  during  the  retreat  from  Mons  ; 
and  in  January,  1915,  he  won  the  Military  Cross.  He  was  pro- 
moted temporary  major  and  squadron  commander  R.F.C.  on 
December  1st,  1914.  Subsequently  he  became  brevet  major 
and  brevet  lieutenant-colonel,  received  the  D.S.O.,  and  was  five 


GENERAL   OFFICERS  363 

times  mentioned  in  despatches.  For  the  last  year  he  was  in 
command  of  a  brigade  of  the  R.F.C.  He  was  one  of  the 
youngest  brigadiers  in  the  army  when  he  was  accidentally 
killed  early  in  the  year  1918. 

Brig. -General  C.  T.  Shipley,  C.B.,  commanded  the  Notts 
and  Derby  (afterwards  called  139th)  Brigade  (T.F.)  in  the 
46th  North  Midland  Division  from  August  4th,  1914,  until 
June,  1917  (in  France  from  February,  1915)  ;  and  the  193rd 
Brigade  at  home  from  August,  1917,  until  April,  1919.  He  was 
awarded  the  C.B. 

Brig. -General  G.  A.  Stevens,  C.M.G.,  D.S.O.,  was 
adjutant  of  the  8th  Durham  Light  Infantry  (Territorials)  ; 
went  to  France  with  the  battalion  April  18th,  1915,  and  served 
as  adjutant  until  December  20th,  1915,  when  he  was  given 
command  of  the  6th  Durham  L.I.  (T.)  with  rank  of  lieutenant- 
colonel.  On  April  25th,  1916,  he  joined  the  8th  Canadian 
Infantry  Brigade  as  brigade  major,  with  rank  of  major.  On 
July  12th,  1916,  he  joined  the  1st  Battalion  Wiltshire  Regiment 
in  command,  with  the  rank  of  lieutenant-colonel.  On  July  20th 
he  became  commander  of  the  2nd  R.F.  He  took  over  command 
of  the  90th  Infantry  Brigade  on  November  13th,  1917,  with  the 
rank  of  brigadier-general,  retaining  this  appointment  until  the 
disbandment  of  the  brigade  in  September,  1919.  He  was 
awarded  the  D.S.O.  January  14th,  1916  ;  promoted  brevet 
lieutenant-colonel  January  1st,  1917  ;  received  the  Belgian 
Croix  de  Guerre  January  10th,  1919,  and  the  C.M.G.  June  3rd, 
1919  ;  and  was  six  times  mentioned  in  despatches. 

Brig.-General  W.  F.  Sweny  was  in  1915  promoted  from 
major  4th  Battalion  R.F.  to  command  the  2nd  East  Yorkshires. 
He  was  wounded  at  Hill  60  and  again  at  Turko  Farm.  On  his 
return  to  France  he  was  given  command  of  the  61st  Infantry 
Brigade  ;  and  in  June,  1916,  he  was  again  wounded  in  Ypres 
while  making  a  personal  reconnaissance.  Rejoining  again  in 
1917,  he  commanded  the  72nd  Brigade  in  the  fighting  at  Vimy 
Ridge  and  Messines.  After  a  short  rest  in  England  he  com- 
manded the  41st  Infantry  Brigade  in  1918  during  the  crossing 
of  the  Lys  (when  he  was  awarded  the  Legion  of  Honour) 
and  the  crossing  of  the  Scheldt.  Seven  times  mentioned  in 
despatches,  he  gained  the  C.M.G.  and  D.S.O. 

Brig.-General  H.  A.  Walker  in  1914  was  brigade  major 
in  the  Meerut  Division,  and  subsequently  commanded  the 
16th  Infantry  Brigade  until  he  lost  his  left  arm  in  action  on 


364    ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

October  16th,  1918.      Nine  times  mentioned  in  despatches,  he 
received  the  C.M.G.  and  D.S.O. 

Brig. -General  Hon.  R.  White  raised  and  commanded  the 
10th  Battalion  Royal  Fusiliers,  was  promoted  to  command  the 
184th  Infantry  Brigade  in  1916,  and  retained  his  command 
until  March,  1918,  when  he  was  severely  wounded.  Six  times 
mentioned  in  despatches,  he  was  awarded  the  C.B.,  C.M.G.  and 
D.S.O. ,  and  promoted  to  the  rank  of  brigadier-general. 


THE  BATTLE  OF  LE  CATEAU 

We  *  halted  on  the  near  side  of  Inchy  just  as  it  started  to 
pour  with  rain,  and  then,  to  put  the  lid  on  it,  we  were  taken 
for  outposts.  This  was  the  worst  da}'  we  had  at  all ;  for  some 
time  I  had  been  having  a  job  to  get  along  at  all,  what  with  my 
feet  and  chafe,  and  the  men  were  dead  beat.  However, 
D  Company  were  not  taken  for  outposts  after  all,  they  were 
only  in  support,  so  we  did  get  some  sleep  in.  Also  I  got  my 
boots  off  for  the  first  time  for  six  days,  and  managed  to  buy  a 
pair  of  socks  and  some  boracic  powder,  after  which  I  was  a 
new  man.  At  dawn  of  the  26th  we  moved  back  through  Inchy 
and  took  up  an  entrenched  position  behind  it  at  Cambrai.  We 
dug  trenches  frantically  for  a  short  time,  but  there  were  not 
enough  tools,  and  no  facilities  for  overhead  cover,  and  very 
little  time. 

When  we  had  done  what  we  could,  the  5  th  t  relieved  us  in 
the  trenches,  and  we  were  ordered  back  in  support.  By  this 
time  the  artillery  duel  was  in  full  swing.  Behind  the  position 
was  a  little  sunken  lane  running  parallel  with  the  position,  and 
just  as  we  were  getting  back  to  this  a  hail  of  shell  burst  right 
over  the  battalion.  My  platoon  was  sitting  down  just  by  the 
lane,  and  the  first  shell  knocked  over  five  men  and  punctured 
my  water  bottle.  We  then  doubled  about  20  yards  into  the 
lane,  where  there  was  a  good  deal  of  confusion,  and  on  the 
right  there  was  a  short  panic  before  the  officers  got  the  men 
under  control.  I  am  glad  to  say  my  platoon  did  not  get  out  of 
control  at  all. 

We  then  lay  in  the  lane  all  day,  quite  snug.  Pellets  of  all 
sorts  whistled  over  our  heads,  but  down  in  the  lane  there  was 
practically  no  danger,  and  we  were  able  to  cook  and  eat  a  hot 
meal.  Our  guns  pounded  away  hour  after  hour,  and  in  front 
the  rifle  fire  kept  going  pretty  steadily.  At  about  one  there 
was  a  lull  in  the  firing,  and  we  all  thought  we  had  beaten  them 
off. 

Suddenly  they  opened  a  tremendous  burst  of  firing  in  the 

centre  of  the  line,  to  our  right.    All  their  guns  seemed  to  be 

*  4th  Royal  Fusiliers. 

j  Northumberland  Fusiliers. 


366     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

concentrated  on  a  village  that  was  there,  and  about  3.30  the 
order  came  for  a  general  retirement.    Then  I  saw  a  sight  I  hope 
never  to  see  again.     Our  line  of  retreat  was  down  two  roads 
which  converged  on  a  village  about  a  mile  behind  the  position. 
Down  these  roads  came  a  mob.    Men  from  every  regiment  were 
there,  guns,  riderless  horses,  limbers  packed  with  wounded, 
quite  unattended  and  lying  on  each  other,  jolting  over  ruts,  etc. 
It  was  not  a  rout,  only  complete  confusion.     This  was  the 
Germans'  chance.     One  battery  of   artillery  sent  forward  or 
one  squadron  of  cavalry  would  have  turned  this  rabble  into  a 
complete  rout,  and  the  whole  army  would  have  been  disposed 
of  and  cut  up  piecemeal.    Meanwhile  we  were  the  only  regiment 
I  saw  in  any  order.    We  had  not  been  engaged,  and  had  only 
lost    1  officer    (Sampson,  hit  in  the  stomach)  and   about  30 
men  ;   we  had  also  had  a  hot  meal,  so  that  we  were  in  good 
condition.     When  the  retirement  was  ordered  we  went  back 
in  a  succession  of  extended  lines,  in  absolute  order,  and  formed 
up  behind  a  farmhouse  near  where  the  roads  met.     Here  we 
waited  in  mass,  while  the  rest  of  the  army  streamed  past.    It 
was  a  most  trying  half-hour.     It  seemed  inevitable  that  they 
would  follow  up,  and  then  the  jam  in  that  village  would  have 
been  indescribable.    I  have  since  heard  that  they  had  sustained 
fearful  losses,  and  also  a  division  of  French  cavalry  was  covering 
our  retreat.     When  the  rabble  had  got  past  we  moved  off, 
marching  at  attention,  arms  sloped,  fours  dressed,  etc.,  through 
the  village.    By  this  time  the  rest  of  the  brigade  had  formed 
up,  and  we  took  up  a  covering  position  behind  the  village, 
which  we  hung  on  to,  expecting  an  attack  any  moment  ;   but 
it  never  came,  and  about  7  p.m.  we  moved  off  again,  and 
marched  till  1  a.m.     I  believe  we  got  a  good  mark  for  this  show 
from  Smith-Dorrien  and  Hamilton.     Of  course,  we  had  no 
reason  to  lose  our  formation,  but  a  panic  is  very  catching,  and 
there  is  no  doubt  that  at  one  time  we  were  the  only  troops  who 
could  have  put  up  any  show  at  all. — Extract  from  the  diary  of 
Lieutenant  Frederick  Longman,  killed  at  Herlies,  October  18th, 
1914. 


THE  LANDING  AT  GALLIPOLI 

We  had  several  reconnaissances  by  air  and  sea.  I  took  part 
in  one  on  the  Queen  Elizabeth,  which  was  most  interesting,  from 
Lemnos.  We  had  assembled  here  transports  and  fleet,  a 
splendid  sight,  and  here  we  practised  landing  and  getting  men 
into  boats,  rowing,  etc. 

On  the  23rd,  by  night,  the  ships  containing  the  covering 
force,  i.e.,  86th  Brigade,  consisting  of  the  2nd  Royal  Fusiliers, 
Royal  Dublin  Fusiliers,  Royal  Munster  Fusiliers,  Lancashire 
Fusiliers,  and  warships,  sailed  to  Tenedos,  where  we  lay  on  the 
24th  and  completed  necessary  transfers  of  men  to  warships, 
etc.,  etc.  Half  my  battalion  and  headquarters  went  on  board 
H.M.S.  Implacable  about  7  p.m.,  from  which  ship  we  had  been 
practising  getting  into  boats,  and  so  on  ;  the  other  half- 
battalion,  under  Brandreth,  went  on  board  a  fleet  minesweeper 
for  the  night.  At  about  10.30  p.m.  we  all  sailed  for  the 
Gallipoli  peninsula,  arriving  there  by  night.  We  had  a  good 
breakfast  on  the  Implacable  at  about  3.30  a.m.  We  then  pro- 
ceeded to  load  up  the  boats,  four  rows  of  six  boats  each  and  a 
steam  pinnace,  about  25  to  30  men  in  a  boat  besides  the  six 
bluejackets  to  row  when  the  pinnace  cast  us  off.  At  4.45  a.m. 
the  bombardment  by  the  fleet  began,  twelve  or  fourteen 
battleships  (including  the  Queen  Elizabeth,  with  15-inch  guns) 
all  blazing  away  with  all  guns  possible.  You  never  heard 
such  a  din,  but  that  was  nothing  to  when  we  landed.  About 
5.15  we  started  off  in  our  tows  with  our  mother-ship,  the 
Implacable,  in  the  middle,  like  a  most  majestic  eagle  and  her 
brood. 

The  captain  of  the  Implacable,  Lockyer,  is  a  splendid  chap. 
Indeed,  the  whole  lot  are  top  hole.  He  had  his  anchor  hanging 
with  a  few  feet  of  spare  cable  and  took  his  ship  right  in  along 
with  our  boats  till  the  anchor  dragged  ;  it  was  a  very  fine 
thing  to  do,  and  most  undoubtedly  saved  us  many  losses  in 
the  boats  and  landing. 

All  the  officers  and  men  of  the  Implacable  were  splendid  and 
most  awfully  good  to  us  ;  they  fed  the  men  in  the  evening,  and 


368     ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

gave  them  a  splendid  hot  meal  at  3.30  a.m.,  which  made  all 
the  difference  to  them  in  the  bad  time  that  was  coming.  How- 
ever, to  continue,  while  we  (W  and  X  Companies)  were  being 
towed  towards  our  beach,  called  "X,"  the  remaining  half- 
battalion  (i.e.,  Y  and  Z  Companies),  on  the  minesweeper,  were 
coming  on.  They  were  to  come  in  as  far  as  the  vessel  could  go 
and  then  be  landed  by  the  boats  in  which  we  were  when  we 
had  got  on  shore.  Very  soon  the  ships  had  to  stop  firing  on  the 
beaches,  and  then  at  once  the  enemy  opened  fire,  and  then 
began  such  an  awful  carnage  as  I  hope  I  may  never  see  any- 
thing like  again. 

As  regards  our  half-battalion  in  the  boats,  we  got  off  in  the 
most  extraordinary  way  while  getting  ashore.  I  can  only  put 
it  down  to  the  way  the  Implacable  plastered  the  beach  at  close 
range.     However,  we  were  to  have  our  bad  time  later  on. 

As  we  were  being  towed  ashore  a  few  rifle  shots  sang  over  us 
and  round  us.     I  think  we  only  lost  a  few  men  actually  in  the 
boats.    About  100  yards  from  the  shore  the  launches  cast  us  off, 
and  we  rowed  in  for  all  we  were  worth  till  the  boats  grounded, 
then  jumped  into  the  water,  up  to  chest  in  some  places,  waded 
ashore,  then  swarmed  up  the  cliff,  nearly  perpendicular,  but 
fortunately  soft  enough  for  a  good  foothold.    The  cliff  was  about 
100  to  120  feet  high.    As  soon  as  we  got  up  we  came  under  fire 
from  front  and  both  flanks.    However,  we  pushed  on  and  got 
into  one  of  their  trenches.    Meantime  the  other  half-battalion 
was  landing.     I  then  sent  one  company  (X  Company),  under 
Frank  Leslie,  to  the  left  front,  one  (W  Company)  straight  on 
and  to  the  right  front.     The  fire  was  very  hot  from  rifles, 
machine  guns,  and  shrapnel,  and  our  losses  were  very  heavy 
at  once.     However,  it  was  absolutely  necessary  to  secure  a 
footing  to  enable  the  beach  to  be  used,  so  we  went  on.    I  can 
never  say  enough  for  the  gallantry  of  the  men  under  these 
really  trying  circumstances,  exposed  to  fire  from  front  and  both 
flanks  and  losing  heavily.      I  had  instructions  to  join  up  with 
the  Lancashire  Fusiliers  who  were  landing  at  "  W  "  beach 
and  to  capture  Tekke  hill,  so  I  gave  orders  to  hold  on  left  and 
front  and  took  all  I  could  muster  (about  seven  platoons)  to 
attack  Tekke.    This  we  eventually  captured  with  the  bayonet 
and  got  a  good  many  prisoners. 

To  go  back  a  moment,  as  we  were  rowing  ashore  we  saw  the 
Lancashires  also  rowing  under  a  tremendous  fire,  one  or  two 
boats  adrift  with  nearly  all  in  them  killed  or  wounded,  so  I 


THE   LANDING   AT  GALLIPOLI  369 

knew  that  there  would  not  be  many  of  them  ashore.  At  about 
7  or  8  a.m.  I  got  signal  communication  with  brigade  west  of 
Tekke  through  H.M.S.  London,  and  learned  that  I  was  in 
command  of  brigade  (General  Hare  being  wounded).  I  could, 
of  course,  not  get  there  at  present.  I  also  got  signal  communi- 
cation with  the  King's  Own  Scottish  Borderers  from  "  Y  " 
beach  to  say  that  they  and  Anson  Battalion  had  landed,  but 
could  not  join  up  (they  were  about  three  miles  north  of  us). 
I  also  learned  by  signal  later  on  that  the  landing  on  "  V  " 
beach  was  hung  up  for  the  present. 

To  return,  it  was  more  than  ever  important  to  capture 
Tekke  now,  so  we  pushed  on  and  eventually  reached  the  hill, 
which  was  strongly  entrenched,  with  some  mined  trenches  in 
front  of  it.  The  hill  was  taken  about  noon  under  view  of  the 
Implacable,  whose  crew  cheered  us  on.  I  was  wounded  here, 
but  managed  to  carry  on  for  a  bit  and  eventually,  with  the 
help  of  Crowther,  my  servant,  managed  to  get  into  a  sort  of 
gully  with  some  more  wounded,  where  we  were  more  or  less 
under  cover.  Shafto  then  came  to  me  about  3  p.m.  and  told 
me  that  our  centre,  which  was  necessarily  very  weak,  was 
falling  back.  I  sent  a  telephone  message  to  our  beach,  where  the 
87th  Brigade  were  now  landing,  and  some  time  later  we  got 
reinforcements  from  the  Border  Regiment.  In  the  meantime 
our  party  were  very  nearly  cut  off  and  captured  ;  it  was  a  most 
unpleasant  time.  The  men  made  a  splendid  stand,  and  we  were 
reinforced  about  4  p.m.  I  was  then  obliged  to  get  to  the 
dressing  station.  I  had  had  my  foot  "  first-aided,"  and  with 
Crowther 's  help  managed  to  get  to  the  station,  the  most 
unpleasant  journey  I  ever  had. 

We  lost  Frank  Leslie,  Scudamore,  Brickland,  C.  de  Trafford, 
killed  during  the  morning,  and  12  other  officers  wounded, 
George  Guyon  shot  in  the  head,  Brandreth  (slight),  Totty  had 
his  arm  amputated  three  times,  Winslade  shot  through  thigh, 
Daniell  broken  thigh,  Collings  shot  through  chest  just  above 
heart,  Hanham  right  arm  (slight),  and  self. 

The  tremendous  fire  of  the  warships  did  very  little  damage 
to  the  enemy's  trenches,  which  were  very  good  and  elaborate, 
but  all  stone  work  was  knocked  flat. 

Our  beach  was  a  mass  of  enormous  holes  from  the  fire  of 
H.M.S.  Implacable. 

Our  brigade  was  washed  out  temporarily,  as  the  losses  were 
so  heavy.    The  remainder  of  the  battalion  joined  to  the  Hamp- 

F.  B  B 


370     ROYAL  FUSILIERS   IN  THE  GREAT  WAR 

shires  to  make  one  battalion.  The  Dublins  and  Munsters  were 
joined  also. 

My  battalion  had  lost,  killed  and  wounded,  on  May  ioth, 
20  officers  and  about  800  men. 

We  hung  on  during  the  night,  and  were  attacked  five  or  six 
times. — Letter  from  Lieut. -Colonel  H.  Newenham  from  Gallipoli, 
April  2jth,  1915. 


DESCRIPTION  OF  THE  FLOOD  AT  GALLIPOLI 

A  Great  Disaster 

It  was  a  dark  night  in  the  trenches  at  Suvla  Bay,  and 
November  26th  will  long  be  remembered,  and  perhaps  spoken 
of,  in  years  to  come.  The  men  had  just  "  stood  to,"  and  the 
sergeant-major  reported  "  Garrison's  correct,  sir,"  when  a 
terrible  clap  of  thunder,  worse  than  a  bombardment  of  high 
explosive,  broke  the  stillness  of  the  night.  This  was  followed 
by  zigzags  of  lightning  which  appeared  to  split  the  heavens  in 
two,  and  then  rain  fell  as  only  it  can  fall  in  the  tropics.  Within 
half  an  hour  the  trenches  held  a  foot  of  water,  rushing  so 
quickly  that  it  was  difficult  to  stand.  At  7  p.m.  the  barricade 
gave  way,  and  a  solid  wall  of  water  7  feet  high  swept  into  the 
trench,  carrying  everything  and  everybody  before  it.  By 
8  p.m.  the  flood  had  reached  its  height,  and  the  force  of  the 
water  had  somewhat  abated,  so  that  I  was  able  to  swim  from 
a  tree  to  No.  1  Platoon.  The  men  were  on  the  parados  of  the 
trench  up  to  their  breasts  in  water.  It  was  the  same  with 
No.  2  Platoon.  Only  about  nine  rifles  had  been  saved.  No.  3 
Platoon  had  gathered  on  a  high  bit  of  land,  and  having  no  trees 
to  hang  on  to,  had  formed  groups  and  were  clinging  to  each 
other.  No.  4  Platoon  were  fighting  for  their  lives,  their  part 
of  the  line  being  a  maze  of  trenches,  many  of  which  had  been 
washed  away,  burying  men  in  the  mud  and  making  it  very 
difficult  for  the  men  to  retain  a  footing  anywhere. 

At  2  a.m.  the  water  began  to  subside,  and  the  men  were  set 
to  work  to  construct  a  breastworks  behind  the  trenches.  No 
tools  being  available,  we  had  to  do  this  by  scooping  up  handfuls 
of  earth,  and  by  dawn  a  resemblance  of  cover  had  been  formed, 
and  we  found  it  useful,  for  the  enemy  gave  us  about  a  dozen 
shrapnel.  To  add  to  our  comforts,  it  began  to  freeze  hard,  and 
a  snow  blizzard  came  down,  and  the  whole  of  the  place  was  soon 
covered  by  snow.  Many  of  the  survivors  of  the  flood  died  from 
exposure.  With  the  help  of  the  sergeant-major,  I  counted  the 
company,  and  of  the  139  only  69  remained.     It  was  soon 

B  B  2 


372  jROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT  WAR 

discovered  that  the  ration  party  had  been  drowned,  and  all  the 
food  or  drink  we  had  was  one  gallon  jar  of  rum.  This  we 
issued  out,  and  Private  Oldfield,  who  had  swum  to  head- 
quarters, brought  up  orders  that  the  line  was  to  be  held 
at  all  costs.  This  order  was  also  brought  to  me  by  the 
adjutant. 

During  this  time — the  first  night — the  cheerfulness  of  the  men 
was  marvellous.  The  slightest  joke  or  mishap  produced  roars 
of  laughter.  By  eight  o'clock  I  had  a  few  rifles  in  working  order, 
and  we  were  able  to  return  the  firing  of  the  Turks.  But  I  gave 
the  order  to  cease  firing  as  soon  as  the  enemy  ceased,  and  during 
the  whole  of  the  27th  very  little  rifle  fire  took  place.  All  day 
the  weather  was  freezing,  and  more  men  died.  Towards  night 
it  turned  to  rain,  and  it  was  impossible  to  move. 

At  2  a.m.  28th  the  commanding  officer  brought  me  half  a 
bottle  of  whisky  and  told  me  that  the  adjutant  and  himself 
were  the  only  living  persons  at  the  battalion  headquarters. 

At  3.30  a.m.  the  adjutant  brought  me  two  officers  to  help 
me — all  my  own  officers  and  most  of  the  N.C.O.'s  had  gone 
under — and  told  me  to  let  the  men  who  could  not  fight  make 
their  own  way  to  the  Red  Cross  station.  I  passed  the  order 
on  to  each  platoon  and  about  30  men  left,  hardly  one  of 
whom  could  walk  upright,  most  of  them  having  to  crawl 
through  the  mud  and  water  on  all  fours.  I  then  counted  up 
and  found  I  had  only  27  living  souls  in  the  firing  line  and 
only  ten  rifles  in  working  order. 

About  5.30  the  order  to  "  retire  to  brigade  headquarters  " 
came  along,  and,  after  waiting  for  X  Company  to  get  clear,  the 
company  started  in  the  following  order  :  No.  1  Platoon, 
No.  4,  No.  2,  No.  3.  I  stayed  with  the  last  four  men.  We  had 
hardly  gone  30  yards  before  the  first,  third  and  fourth  man 
were  killed,  the  two  first  shot  through  the  head  and  the  latter 
through  the  heart.  Ten  yards  further  the  other  man  got  it, 
and  as  I  lifted  him  to  dress  his  wound  the  breath  rushed  out 
of  his  body  with  an  awful  sound.  I  remember  falling  in  the 
mud  and  sticking  a  bayonet  in  the  ground  to  help  me  out,  and 
the  next  clear  thing  was  Lieutenant  Wilkinson  rubbing  my 
feet  and  bending  my  toes.  They  did  hurt.  On  Tuesday, 
30th,  the  corps  commander,  Sir  Julian  Byng,  inspected  the 
battalion,  84  strong,  survivors  of  661  O.R.  and  22  officers. 
Poor  W  Company  mustered  two,  Sergeant-Major  Paschall  and 
myself. 


THE  FLOOD   OF   GALLIPOLI  373 


W  Company. 

Total  strength 

• 

•      27 

Distribution  : — 

Effective    . 

• 

.      18 

Non-effective 

• 

•       9 

Distribution  of  effectives  : — 

Signallers   . 

• 

1 

Sergeants   . 

• 

•      4 

Regimental  dump* 

• 

.     10 

Other  ranks 

• 

•       3 

18—8=10 
Robert  Gee. 

(Captain 

Robert 

Gee,  V.C.,  M.P.) 

*  Eight  reported  i 

jnfit. 

"No.   8  PLATOON."* 
By  H.  E.  Harvey,  D.C.M.,  M.M. 

"  Presence  of  mind  and  courage  in  distress 
Are  more  than  armies  to  command  success." 

'  Duff,  old  son,  that's  my  kip,  and  I'm  '  getting  down  to  it  ' 
right  now." 

Duff  looked  at  the  speaker  with  an  annoyed  air,  but  pro- 
ceeded to  drag  his  "  gear  " — full  marching  order,  bomber's 
'  kosher,"  rifle,  a  couple  of  gas  helmets  and  a  blanket — along 
the  dirty  floor  of  the  disused  and  darkened  French  brewery  at 
Hersin,  in  search  of  a  space  yet  unclaimed. 

The  whole  battalion  was  tired  and  "  fed  up  "  with  daily 
plodding  back  to  the  line,  and  courtesies  were  scarce. 

"  Hi  !  keep  your  ugly  feet  out  of  that  '  possie,'  "  yelled  one 
termed  "  Spud,"  partaking  of  a  meagre  supper — a  mass  of 
jam  on  a  biscuit. 

Duff  turned  slowly  and  contemplated  the  youngster  in 
silence.  Then  came  a  shriek  and  a  muffled  curse  from  beneath 
another  grimy  blanket,  on  which  the  forlorn  bed-seeking  Duff 
had  planted  a  heavy  foot. 

He  wandered  off. 

"  Say,  Vic,  can't  you  shove  a  bit  for  your  old  pal  ?  "  And, 
thus  finding  room,  he  pulled  off  his  boots,  and,  after  roughly 

*  This  sketch  refers  to  the  counter-attack  by  the  22nd  Royal  Fusiliers 
at  Vimy  Ridge  May  22nd — 23rd,  1916.  The  salient  facts  are  true,  and  the 
following  decorations  were  given  in  connection  with  the  episode  : — 

Distinguished  Service  Order. 

Captain  William  Archibald  Miller,  M.B.,  R.A.M.C,  Spec.  Res. 
(attd.  22nd  (S.)  Bn.  R.  Fus.). 
For  conspicuous  gallantry  and  devotion  to  duty.  Capt.  Miller 
followed  the  front  line  of  our  attack  over  ground  swept  by  shell, 
machine-gun  and  rifle  fire.  He  searched  in  every  direction  for 
wounded,  and  gained  valuable  information  regarding  the  situation. 
This  he  at  once  communicated,  and  again  continued  his  search 
for  wounded.  This  officer  has  on  previous  occasions  shown 
distinguished  gallantry. 

Military  Cross. 

and  Lt.  Richard  Hugo  Gregg,  30th  Bn.  (attd.  22nd  (S.)  Bn.  R.  Fus.). 

For   conspicuous  gallantry   and   initiative.     His   senior  officer 

being  wounded  in  attack,  2nd  Lt.  Gregg  took  command  of  the 

company,  and  on  reaching  the  captured  trench  at  once  consolidated 


VIMY   RIDGE,   MAY   22ND,    1916  375 

arranging  his  tackle  and  extinguishing  the  stump  of  candle 
was,  like  the  majority  of  B  Company,  soon  sleeping  soundly. 

The  crowded  and  inhospitable  billet,  save  for  snores,  was 
noisy  no  longer. 

Maybe  an  hour  had  passed,  when,  though  few  were  conscious 
of  it,  heavy  feet  clambered  up  the  rickety  iron  staircase  outside 
the  building,  and,  thrusting  aside  the  sacking  that  hung  across 
the  doorway,  the  orderly  sergeant  lumbered  into  the  room. 
Kicking  a  couple  of  the  nearest  blanketed  figures,  he  shouted, 
"  Stand  to,  every  man  !  D'yer  hear  that,  yer  blighters  ? 
Full  marching  order  !  "  then  vanished  to  spread  the  joyous 
news  elsewhere. 

The  gentlemen  so  rudely  aroused  each  contrived  to  thrust 
forth  a  grubby,  sleepy  face,  and  asked  the  other  "  what  the 

all  the  racket  was  about."    Seeing  no   others   moving, 

they  contented  themselves  with  the  conclusion  that  some 
"  chump  "  had  been  "  vin-rougeing,"  or  had  had  an  extra  lot 
of  rum,  and  curled  up  once  more  to  slumber. 

One  or  two  others,  also  disturbed,  lay  awake  a  while  in  the 
dark,  discussing  the  undreamed-of  occurrence. 

"  What  the  devil's  the  game  now  ?  "  demanded  "  Press." 
He  was  dubbed  "  Press  "  because  of  his  wonderful  capacity 
for  collecting,  magnifying  and  spreading  rumours. 

"  Stand  to  !  What  the  devil  next  ?  What's  he  talking 
about  ?     'Blige  me  !  that's  a  very  poor  joke. " 

the  position.     Then,  finding  that  his  flanks  were  unsupported,  he 
showed  remarkable  ability  in  the  withdrawal  of  his  company. 

Distinguished  Conduct  Medal. 
278  Sgt.  P.  W.  Fisher,  22nd  Bn.  R.  Fus.       (killed  Oct.,  1916). 

For  conspicuous  ability.  When  his  company  had  attacked  and 
captured  an  enemy  trench  he  organised  the  defence  of  a  flank  with 
great  coolness  and  skill.  When  a  withdrawal  was  ordered  he  again 
displayed  great  ability,  directing  the  various  parties  by  the  bearings 
of  certain  stars. 
1226  L.-Sgt.  C.  A.  Wheeler,  22nd  Bn.  R.  Fus. 

For  conspicuous  gallantry.  He  volunteered  for,  and  carried  out, 
two  very  risky  reconnaissances  after  a  successful  assault  by  his 
company.  Later  he  guided  an  officer  of  the  R.A.M.C.  and  remained 
with  him  under  machine-gun  and  rifle  fire  till  the  last  wounded  man 
had  been  brought  in. 
671  L.-C.  W.  H.  Metcalfe,  22nd  Bn.  R.  Fus. 

For  conspicuous  gallantry  when  assisting  an  officer  of  the 
R.A.M.C.  and  carrying  wounded  men  into  safety  under  heavy  rifle 
and  machine-gun  fire. 

ALSO 

D.C.M.  to  Pte.  G.  Webb,  22nd  Bn.  R.  Fus. 
M.M  to  Pte.  P.  Cannot,  22nd  Bn.  R.  Fus. 


376    ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

But  little  Joey  took  a  more  serious  view,  and  thought  he'd 
better  get  his  equipment  together. 

Spud,  too,  suggested  that  perhaps  the  Bodies  had  broken 
through  somewhere. 

'  Don't  talk  soft,"  said  Dave  ;  "  and  what  if  they  have  ? 
We're  not  the  reserve  brigade.  Why,  man,  we're  not  due  '  in  ' 
for  a  fortnight,  and  then  only  for  fatigues.  And  don't  forget," 
he  added  with  great  impressiveness,  "  we're  nineteen  kilos 
from  the  line.  Don't  talk  soft,  boy.  It's  some  one  having  a 
game.    I'm  '  getting  down  to  it '  again." 

In  a  few  minutes  slumber  once  more  reigned  supreme. 

But  shortly  afterwards  agile  feet  bounded  up  the  stairs. 
The  gleam  of  an  electric  torch  found  its  way  through  the  canvas 
at  the  doorway,  followed  immediately  by  the  figure  of  the 
captain.      For  a  second  or  two  he  stood  like  one  amazed. 

"  Scarce  a  soul  of  'em  stirring  !    By ,  turn  out  !     Stand  to, 

every  man  !  "  he  shouted  in  a  voice  that  moved  the  drowsiest. 
.  .  .  "  Turn  out  there  !  D'yer  hear  ?  Take  that  man's  name, 
corporal.  Where's  the  sergeant  ?  Turn  every  man  out  at 
once,  battle  order." 

The  sergeant  jumped  up  in  bewilderment.  Men  groped  in 
the  darkness  and  confusion  for  candles,  cursing  lustily.  Blan- 
kets and  feet  were  indiscriminately  trodden  upon.  Irritability 
was  a  common  possession,  while  discipline  seemed  cast  to 
the  winds. 

Notwithstanding,  the  company  tumbled  out  on  parade 
within  fifteen  minutes,  though  scattered  about  the  now 
deserted  billet  floor  were  stray  gas  helmets,  mess  tins,  etc., 
and  pieces  of  bread  and  cheese  upon  which  some  bold  rodents 
had  already  pounced  voraciously. 

Outside  in  the  cobbled  yard,  beneath  stars  half  hidden  by 
driving  clouds,  the  company  answered  a  hurried  roll  call. 

Curious  expectancy  seemed  to  fill  the  minds  of  everybody, 
from  the  sergeant-major  downwards. 

Dave,  however,  was  jocular. 

"  Try-on,"  he  muttered. 

"  Time  test,"  asserted  Soaker. 

But  when  the  quartermaster  came  along  the  ranks  handing 
to  each  man  a  tin  of  Maconochie  speculation  grew  wild  and 
varied. 

Still  Dave  was  jubilant,  and  refused  to  be  discomforted. 

Then  came  the  order,  "  Bombers  to  the  front !  " 


VIMY    RIDGE,   MAY   22ND,    1916  377 

Dave's  mouth  opened  wide,  for  Dave  was  a  bomber  ! 

The  company  "  moved  to  the  left  in  fours  "  out  into  the  now 
crowded  Rue  Cambon.  Men  of  A  Company  pushed  past  on 
their  way  to  the  alarm  post.  Ammunition  mules  and  limbers 
forced  their  way  in  the  darkness  through  columns  of  men 
moving  left  and  right. 

The  unexpected  tramp  of  feet  and  rumble  of  wheels  had 
brought  the  inhabitants  to  their  windows  and  doors,  while  the 

battalion  moved  to  the  outskirts  of  the  town,  passing  the 

shires  en  route.    The  whole  brigade  was  evidently  on  the  move. 

Reaching  the  main  road,  the  column  halted,  while  slowly 
towards  them  came  a  number  of  now  grim-looking  motor 
'buses,  black  and  boarded,  no  longer  the  gay  crimson  things 
that  had  once  flitted  down  Bond  Street,  London. 

"  What  about  it  now  ?  "  queried  Joey  as  No.  8  Platoon 
clambered  aboard  one  of  the  vehicles,  in  which,  packed 
together  in  uneasy  postures  and  careless  of  future  develop- 
ments, most  of  the  men  fell  asleep. 

Some  one  muttered  something  about  a  "  joy-ride." 

"  J°y-ride  I  "  said  Spud.  "  Yus,  an'  it  means  dirty  work 
somewhere.  Don't  get  joy-rides  for  nothing  ;  there's  some 
'stunt 'on,  111  bet." 

The  promoter  of  this  outburst  sneeringly  suggested  that 
"  some  one  "  had  got  the  "  wind  up."  Spud  merely  spouted 
contemptuously  at  the  speaker. 

The  'bus  rocked  and  jolted  along  the  worn  and  ill-kept  road, 
whither  none  save  the  driver  knew ;  but  the  guns  at  length 
sounded  louder,  and  as  the  'bus  toiled  to  the  top  of  the  hill 
the  pale,  sickly  glow  of  Verey  lights  lit  up  the  horizon. 

A  few  minutes  later  the  vehicles  stopped  at  the  cross-roads. 
Sleepy  and  cramped  Tommies  turned  out  once  more,  while 
officers  and  N.C.O.'s  moved  quickly  up  and  down,  getting 
order  out  of  chaos  and  their  various  platoons  into  "  fours  " ; 
and  even  as  men  leaned  heavily  on  their  rifles  the  column  began 
to  move. 

Moody  silence  possessed  the  usual  bright  spirits  of  No.  8, 
while  only  one  or  two  sought  the  solace  of  a  cigarette  as,  half 
dozing,  they  tramped  wearily  on. 

The  faintest  streak  of  dawn  was  just  discernible  as  B  Com- 
pany of  the  22nd  Royal  Fusiliers  filed  into  a  wood  on  the  left 
of  the  road,  the  interior  of  which  had,  for  an  obvious  purpose, 
been  cleared  of  undergrowth. 


378    ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

It  was  now  plain  to  all  that  there  was  a  big  strafe  on  to 
their  front,  about  three  miles  away,  and  flares  had  now  given 
place  to  the  lurid  glow  of  bursting  shells. 

Obeying  orders,  the  men  lay  down  fully  equipped,  to  snatch 
what  sleep  they  might  ;  and  6  a.m.  saw  them  eagerly  sipping 
excellent  hot  tea  which  the  cooks,  who  in  some  remarkable  way 
had  "  turned  up,"  had  prepared. 

The  gunfire  had  died  down  considerably  by  8  a.m.,  and  a 
buoyancy  of  spirits  had  returned.  Dave  started  his  pet  song 
about  the  "  Tulip  and  a  big  red  rose,"  but  this  outburst  was 
at  least  temporarily  subdued  when,  after  an  order  that  no  man 
was  to  touch  his  water  bottle  without  permission,  each  was 
handed  an  extra  bandolier  of  ammunition  and  a  couple  of 
Mills'  bombs. 

The  platoons  then  moved  out  into  the  sunlight  at  intervals 
towards  the  line. 

No  word  had  filtered  through  as  to  what  the  hurried  move 
really  meant,  and  it  was  not  until  the  communication  trenches 
were  reached  that  wounded  stragglers  told  of  "  lost  trenches." 

B  Company,  being  unfamiliar  with  this  sector  and  its 
characteristics,  immediately  concluded  that  the  chaps  at 
present  in  the  position  must  be  "a  poor  lot."  So  far  they 
could  boast  they'd  never  lost  a  trench  (or,  be  it  noted,  won 

one)  ;  and  as  they  passed  small  parties  of  the Rifles,  the 

present  garrison,  they  felt  elated  and  proud  to  have  been  called 
upon  to  "  take  over." 

The  new-comers  filed  into  the  "  communicator  "  towards  the 
position,  in  due  time  reaching  low  ground  beneath  a  ridge. 

From  the  R.E.  dump  by  which  they  passed  each  man 
grabbed  alternately  a  spade  or  pick. 

Despite  this  additional  burden,  hearts  grew  lighter.  After 
all,  then,  it  was  not  to  be  the  somewhat  distrusted  "  stunt  over 
the  top,"  but  merely  a  digging  fatigue — a  new  line,  perhaps. 
Thus  hope  and  conjecture  swayed  from  side  to  side,  but  futile 
discussion  was  checked  by  the  sergeant's  strongly  voiced  order 
to  No.  8  to  "lead  on." 

Along  the  battered  communication  trench  of  French  origin, 
which  ran  snake-like  up  the  chalky  slopes  of  Vimy  Ridge,  the 
men  struggled  panting,  whilst  on  all  sides  lay  ghastly  signs  of 
recent  havoc  and  slaughter. 

After  all,  it  was  admitted,  "  the  poor  blighters  must  have 
had  a  hellish  time  "  ;   and  this  flash  of  generous  feeling  met 


VIMY   RIDGE,   MAY   22ND,   1916  379 

with  general  endorsement  as  the  enemy  opened  out  a  barrage 
just  ahead. 

A  few  yards  below  the  crest  of  the  ridge  the  captain  climbed 
out  of  the  trench,  the  platoons  obeying  the  order  to  crawl  after 
him  in  single  file  across  the  grassy,  shell-pitted  slope.  Then 
the  order  was  passed  along  to  "  halt  and  dig  in,"  some 
unauthorised  person  adding,  "  like  the  devil." 

And  B  Company  dug,  using  pick  and  spade  with  a  zeal  that 
none  could  reproach.  Nor  needed  they  any  goading,  for  a 
Boche  airman  had  evidently  "  spotted  "  the  movement,  and 
his  heavy  batteries,  anticipating  trouble,  were  already 
"  searching  "  the  ground. 

Five  p.m.  saw  their  toil  nearly  completed.  B  Company  was 
well  down  out  of  sight ;  and  some,  having  delved  their  allotted 
6  feet,  sat  complacently  smoking  on  the  new  trench  bottom. 

The  shelling  which  had  continued  throughout  the  day  had 
proved  troublesome,  and  although  the  "  Fritzes  "  had  not  so 
far  correctly  gauged  the  range  of  the  new  line,  they  had 
succeeded  in  putting  a  number  of  5.4's  horribly  close  and 
bespattering  it  with  shrapnel ;  and  the  popular  Corporal 
Valentine,  only  back  from  leave  the  preceding  day,  was  among 
those  who  had  "  gone  west." 

With  their  work  completed,  the  men  found  time  to  talk 
things  over  ;  and  the  varied  opinions  expressed  and  the 
caustic  criticism  which  some  aroused  would  have  proved 
interesting  reading  had  it  been  recorded  verbatim. 

The  German  artillerymen  were  accorded  a  good  deal  of 
hearty  abuse,  and  a  sudden  retaliation  by  one  of  the  British 
heavy  batteries  pleased  Joey  in  particular  ;  and  as  the 
weighty  9.2's  flew  overhead  the  chirpy  little  cockney  assured 
everybody  that  "  that  was  the  '  stuff '  to  give  'em." 

Now  it  so  happened  that  the  position  of  the  new  trench  did 
not  afford  much,  if  any,  opportunity  to  its  occupants  for 
locating  with  any  accuracy  the  enemy  lines.  The  immediate 
front  of  No.  8  Platoon  was  a  rising  grassy  slope  of  about 
25  yards,  disfigured  by  numerous  shell  holes,  some  of  recent 
date,  others  partly  overgrown  with  tufts  of  grass  and  bright- 
tinted  poppies — a  vivid  contrast  with  the  chalky  soil  in  which 
they  flourished. 

As  to  what  lay  beyond  the  crest  of  the  ridge  none  yet  knew  ; 
and  as  there  were  strict  orders  that  men  were  not  to  leave  the 
trench,  venturesome  spirits,  keen  for  reconnaissance,  were  held 


380    ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT  WAR 

in  check.  Views  left  and  right,  too,  were  partially  obscured, 
on  the  one  hand  by  the  high  parados  of  the  communicator, 
which  ran  almost  at  right  angles  with  the  trench,  and  on  the 
other  by  the  natural  contour  of  the  ground.  Away  to  the 
rear  it  gradually  dropped  some  hundreds  of  feet,  and  about 
three  miles  off,  half  hidden  by  surrounding  trees,  lay  the  small, 
shell-wrecked  village  Villers-au-Bois. 

Late  in  the  afternoon  the  captain  arrived  to  inspect  the 
trench,  and,  after  making  a  few  suggestions  for  its  improve- 
ment, moved  away  again  without  further  instructions. 

The  corporal  thought  it  "  darned  funny  "  ;  but  further 
conversation  was  discouraged,  as  the  enemy  again  commenced 
to  drop  some  "  big  stuff  "  in  the  vicinity. 

As  it  grew  dark,  Verey  lights  once  more  shot  upwards,  some 
coming  to  earth  just  at  the  top  of  the  ridge,  where  they  burned 
themselves  out  with  the  fierce  familiar  hissing. 

The  "  Boche,"  it  was  evident,  was  disturbed  about  some- 
thing, for  suddenly  his  lights  of  ill  omen,  blood-red,  burst 
upwards  in  the  darkness. 

Prepared  for  the  inevitable  response  to  this  urgent  call  for 
artillery  support,  No.  8  Platoon  crouched  low  in  the  trench  ; 
and  as  shells  of  all  descriptions  crashed  to  earth  around  them 
oaths  and  threats  were  plentiful  and  varied.  It  was,  at  any 
rate,  of  some  satisfaction  to  know  the  opposing  front  line  of 
"  square-headed  swabs  "  were  to  some  extent  discomforted 
by  their  own  artillery,  for  vivid  green  rockets  hurriedly 
followed,  the  enemy's  signal  to  the  guns  to  lengthen  range. 

"  'Tain't  too'  ealthy,"  piped  Spud,  "  but  I  reckon  we'll  be 
relieved  to-night.  I'm  about  beat.  Can't  march  and  dig  all 
day  and  '  stand  to  '  all  night  too.  They're  bound  to  relieve 
us  to-night.     'Tain't  reasonable  to  expect  fellers  to  '  stick  it.'  " 

'  Perhaps  not,"  said  the  corporal,  "  but  you  must  recollect 
there's  a  war  on  somewhere  !  " 

At  this  some  grinned  ;   others  groused. 

It  was  shortly  after  8  p.m. — ten  minutes  after,  to  be  precise — 
when  along  the  top  of  the  trench  scudded  the  company 
sergeant-major  with  the  order,  "  Get  your  '  stuff  '  on."  The 
"  stuff  "  referred  to  was  merely  haversacks,  extra  bandoliers 
and  bombs,  for  in  positions  such  as  this  complete  fighting 
equipment  was  worn  continuously  day  and  night. 

The  men  buckled  each  other's  haversacks  with  alacrity  ; 
spades  and  picks  were  slung  across  the  back  and  held  in  position 


VIMY   RIDGE,   MAY   22nd,   1916  381 

by  the  equipment.  Cigarettes  were  proffered  freely,  and 
appetites  became  already  whetted  at  the  thought  of  omelettes 
and  fried  potatoes,  for,  of  course,  they  were"  being  relieved." 

But  this  and  other  fond  imaginings  were  quickly  dispelled. 

"  What  was  that  ?  " 

"  Going  over  in  ten  minutes  !  " 

The  sergeant  now  confirmed  the  hurriedly  spread  news. 

"  Yes,  my  lads,"  he  said,  with  an  attempt  at  gaiety,  "  and 
there's  nine  minutes  to  go  ;  and  don't  forget  your  bayonets, 
lads;  that's  the  stuff  to  give  them." 

Just  at  that  moment  a  heavy  shell  exploded  near  at  hand, 
making  what  Duff  termed  "  a  nasty  mess  "  of  our  poor  old 
sergeant-major. 

Officers  now  hurried  along  the  top,  and  dropped  into  their 
respective  positions  with  the  platoons.  Instructions  were 
promptly  passed  along — "  that  the  brigade  were  attacking, 
Berkshires  on  the  left,  K.R.  Rifles  on  the  right.  No.  8 
Platoon  to  get  into  touch  with  the  Rifles  on  their  right  flank, 
go  over  first  two  lines,  take  the  third  and  consolidate." 

An  officer  went  along  the  trench  ensuring  that  every  man 
understood  the  order. 

•P  1*  *P  *p 

"  Three  minutes  to  go  !  " 

The  last  moments,  maybe,  of  life  found  each  man  making 
final  adjustments  to  his  equipment,  tightening  belt  or  puttees 
and  satisfying  himself  that  his  bayonet  was  securely  fixed, 
his  rifle  bolt  clean. 

Each  had  already  picked  a  convenient  foothold,  or  made  one, 
by  which  to  mount  the  parapet.  Here  and  there  chums  shook 
hands  and  exchanged  a  few  words  of  encouragement. 

"  Half  a  minute  to  go  !  " 

Some  one  said,  "  God  love  you  all,"  then  "  Over  you  go, 

you  fellows  I "  from  the  subaltern  ;   and  No.  8  Platoon  sailed 

away  into  the  night  and  the  shriek  and  droning  of  countless 

shells  and  bullets.  .  .  . 

*  *  *  * 

"  What  the ?  Who's  that  ?   Are  you  hit,  chum  ?  " 

The  reserve  Lewis  gun  corporal  stooped  down  to  the  huddled 

figure.    "  Where's  it  caught  you,  old  man  ?  "  he  asked. 
The  wounded  man,  a  "  runner  "  from  brigade  headquarters, 

slowly  raised  a  blood-soaked  arm,  his  hand  tightly  clenching  a 

crumpled  and  be-mired  scrap  of  paper. 


382    ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT  WAR 

"  Rush  it  along,  chum,"  he  pleaded  "  O.C.  B  Company. 
Stop  'em  !    Attack's  off  !  " 

The  "  runner  "  dropped  back  unconscious. 

Clutching  the  written  message,  the  gunner  sprang  to  the 
top  of  the  communicator,  and  plunged  forward  through  the 
enemy  barrage  towards  the  crest  of  the  ridge  where  he  had  seen 
B  Company  digging  earlier  in  the  day. 

He  reached  the  newly  made  trench,  but,  save  for  some 
poor  torn  corpses,  it  was  empty  ! 

"  Good  God  !  "  he  exclaimed ;  "  they're  gone  !  ' 

He  stumbled  across  a  moaning  figure. 

"  Where's  B  Company  ?  '  he  demanded,  with  seeming 
callousness  ;  and  in  a  weakened  voice  a  dauntless  spirit  replied, 
"  Gorn,  chum !    Went  over  like  one  man,  like  'eroes." 

The  gunner  dashed  to  the  top  of  the  ridge  and  yelled, 
"B  Company,  retire  !  "  It  was  the  forbidden  word,  and  futile 
in  effect,  for  not  a  soul  heard.  The  shriek  and  crash  of  missiles 
drowned  his  voice. 

The  inky  darkness  was  lit  up  by  the  explosion  of  thousands 
of  shells  ;  while  high  above  the  fringe  of  flame  red,  green  and 
white,  and  to  the  left  orange,  rockets  rose  and  burst  into 
myriad  stars. 

The  gunner  raced  forward.     He  must  fetch  the  boys  back  ! 

But,  just  then  one  of  the  countless  Boche  bullets  found  a 
precious  billet.     The  gunner  dropped. 

B  Company's  only  line  of  communication  had  snapped  1 
•  *  *  • 

Ignorant  of  disaster,  Platoons  Nos.  5  and  8  had  topped  the 
ridge,  joined  flanks,  and  walked  over  "  into  it  "  with  scarce  a 
fear. 

"  Don't  bunch  !  "  yelled  a  warning  voice. 

The  line  straightened  out. 

It  thinned. 

The  men  stumbled  across  the  first  trench — the  old  support 
line,  pounded  almost  level. 

The  British  curtain  of  fire  surged  forward  ahead  of  the 
advancing  troops,  while  the  enemy  barrage  enveloped  them. 

Vile  fumes  partially  choked  them,  and  the  torn  ground  shook 
with  the  concussion  of  heavy  shells.  Broken  strands  of  barbed 
wire  tore  legs  and  feet.  "  Spent  "  nosecaps  whizzed  and 
hummed  past  overhead.  Shrapnel  burst  and  flew  in  all  direc- 
tions, while  spraying  machine-gun  bullets  swept  the  line  from 


VIMY   RIDGE,   MAY  22ND,   1916  383 

end  to  end,  finding  here   and  there  a  target  in   quivering 
flesh. 

There  were  now  wide  gaps  in  the  line  of  indistinct  figures, 
and  a  machine  gun  spurted  and  spat  spitefully  to  No.  8's 
direct  front. 

Tripped  and  torn  with  low  entanglements,  the  attackers 
sighted  their  objective,  pressed  forward  eagerly  and  covered 
the  last  few  yards  with  a  rush.  Rifles  were  gripped  for  vicious 
thrusts  with  the  bayonet ;  but,  reaching  the  parapet,  they 
discovered  that  the  enemy  had  rapidly  withdrawn. 
Was  it  a  ruse  ? 

One,  a  bomber,  whose  position  at  the  commencement  of  the 
attack  had  been  about  the  centre  of  the  line,  now  found  him- 
self apparently  the  extreme  left  flank.  Surprised,  but  unper- 
turbed, he  hastily  set  to  work  to  barricade  the  trench,  goading 
others,  more  mystified,  to  improvise  a  reverse  firing  step. 

Boche  machine-gun  emplacements  were  torn  down  and  the 
handy  tinted  sandbags  flung  into  useful  positions. 

Almost  encircled,  as  it  now  seemed,  by  enemy  fire,  the  men 
worked  feverishly  to  consolidate,  expecting  momentarily 
heavy  counter-attacks. 

The  man  on  the  extreme  left  moved  along  the  captured 
portion  of  the  trench,  to  collect  bombs  for  the  barricade,  and 
to  ascertain  who  was  now  in  charge  ;  he  had  seen  the  captain 
fall  half-way  over. 

Pushing  past  several  somewhat  startled  men,  he  at  last 
came  across  the  new  subaltern,  to  whom  he  reported  the 
situation  on  the  left. 

"  How  many  men  are  there  down  that  end  ?  "  anxiously 
inquired  the  sub. 

"  I  passed  seven,  sir." 

"  That's  only  twenty-six  all  told  !  "  Glancing  quickly 
around,  he  continued,  "  I  want  a  volunteer  to  try  and  find  out 
what's  happened,  to  see  if  supports " 

"  I'll  go,  sir,"  said  the  man  from  the  left. 

Turning,  the  officer  called,  "  Here  you  are,  sergeant ;  here's 
a  chap  who'll  go  with  you." 

"  I'll  go  too,  sir,"  said  Hamblin. 

"  Get  back  to  the  line  if  you  can,"  said  the  subaltern.  "  Tell 
'em  how  it  is,  and  ask  if  they're  sending  supports.  We're 
sticking  here  till  you  return.  " 

Taking  a  hurried  glance  at  the  stars  and  the  arc  of  fire  for 


384    ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE   GREAT   WAR 

some  guide  as  to  direction,  the  three  clambered  over  the  top 
of  the  trench,  out  into  the  area  where  death  still  hurtled 
through  the  air  in  every  direction. 

Keeping  low,  crawling,  running  and  stumbling  along,  they 
moved  away  in  the  darkness.  Then  for  a  while  they  lay 
panting  in  the  temporary  shelter  of  a  shell  hole,  and  gazed 
around.  Suddenly,  30  yards  to  the  right,  a  Boche  gunner 
opened  fire,  sending  a  hurricane  of  lead  spraying  over  their 
heads. 

"  Who  is  that  ?  "  all  three  involuntarily  whispered  as  for 
a  few  seconds  a  figure  was  silhouetted  against  the  pale  glow  of 
a  dropping  flare.     "  A  Boche  outpost,  possibly." 

Cautiously  they  crawled  forward. 

Prepared  for  trouble,  they  approached  in  some  sort  of 
extended  order,  to  discover  a  number  of  chums  badly  hit, 
lying  in  and  around  a  large  shell  hole,  while  one,  less  hurt 
than  his  fellows,  was  binding  up  their  wounds  as  best  he  could. 
'  Is  that  you,  Duff?  "  asked  one,  mortally  wounded,  of  the 
bomber. 

"  Yes.     Who  is — is  that  you,  Dave  ?  " 

"  Ah  !  they've  got  me  badly,  I'm  afraid." 

"  We're  going  off  for  stretchers,  old  man.  Keep  quiet  a 
bit  ;  we'll  soon  be  back." 

The  bomber  did  what  he  could  to  ease  another  poor  lad  who 
lay  groaning  alongside,  then  moved  away  with  the  others  in 
search  of  assistance. 

They  proceeded  unchecked  for  about  another  100  yards, 
and  were  brought  to  earth  by  a  fiercely  muttered  challenge — 
in  English ! 

"  B  Company  patrol !  What  the  devil's  B  Company  doing 
out  there  ?  .  .  .  Went  over,  d'yer  say  ?  .  .  .  My  God  !  The 
attack  was  cancelled ! !  " 

The  battalion  medical  officer — for  it  was  he — was  clearly 
astounded.  Fearless,  and  with  a  high  sense  of  duty,  he  always 
found  work  to  do  in  the  front  line  on  such  occasions  as  this. 

"  You  must  all  come  back.     It's  madness  to  stay  there." 

"  Well,  sir,"  said  the  sergeant,  "  Mr.  Carter  won't  withdraw 
without  a  satisfactory  order  ;  and  there's  Mr.  Thane  and  a 
bunch  of  our  boys  hit  bad  out  there — walked  right  into  a 
Boche  gunner." 

"  Must  get  them  in  somehow  !  Can  you  show  me  the  way 
back  to  them  ?  "  said  the  M.O.,  thinking  hard. 


VIMY   RIDGE,   MAY   22ND,   1916  385 

He  gave  a  few  curt  orders  to  a  group  of  stretcher-bearers, 
who,  together  with  his  orderly,  quickly  climbed  out  of  the 
trench  after  him,  and  followed  the  figures  moving  away.  The 
darkness  of  night  was  gradually  giving  place  to  the  faintest 
grey  of  dawn — a  sign  which  bade  them  hurry  ere  disaster 
overtook  them. 

Leaving  the  stretcher-bearers  to  attend  and  bring  in  the 
group  of  wounded,  the  M.O.  pressed  on  with  the  other  three, 
still  unscathed. 

It  was  folly  now  to  halt  for  a  second  ;  so,  with  enforced 
contempt  of  lead  and  iron,  they  once  more  providentially 
reached  the  captured  sector  of  the  trench. 

The  M.O.'s  order  was  brief. 

'  The  attack  was  cancelled,"  he  told  the  subaltern.  "  You 
must  withdraw  at  once  !  " 

Grasping  the  situation,  the  subaltern  said  to  the  nearest 
man  :  "  Pass  it  down  from  Mr.  Carter,  every  man  to  lead  out 
this  way  at  once.     Sergeant,  you'll  bring  up  the  rear." 

So  the  haggard  file  of  men  crossed  yet  again  the  contested 
"  strip,"  picking  up  en  route  among  their  own  wounded  one 
of  the  Londons  (the  late  garrison),  who  had  lain  for  three 
nights  with  a  ghastly  gash  under  a  hurricane  of  missiles. 

Some,  too,  there  were  who  are  now  numbered  among  the 
"  missing  "  ;  and  at  roll  call  No.  8  Platoon,  of  40  odd, 
numbered  17. 

There  were  individual  honours  gained  that  day  ;  but  on 
the  morrow,  when  the  brigadier  addressed  the  remnants  of  the 
company  in  a  little  ruined  orchard  behind  the  line,  he  bestowed 
an  honour  on  all  with  the  revelation  that  they  had  "  saved  the 
face  of  the  brigade  "  and  gained  for  the  battalion  an  envied 
reputation. 


T.  C  C 


THE   SOMME 

I. — Before  the  Battle 

The  valley  of  the  Somme  was  indeed  superb  and  a  picture 
that  hundreds  would  have  liked  to  have  viewed. 

In  the  early  morning  you  would  awaken  to  the  song  of  birds 
in  the  trees  above  you,  and  that  alone  seemed  to  drive  all  care 
and  worry  away  and  made  the  heart  young.  Dragon-flies,  at 
least  six  different  colours,  would  drift  noiselessly  through  the 
air  ;  beautiful  coloured  butterflies  and  fancy  kinds  of  flies 
made  every  moment  of  the  day  really  enjoyable. 

In  Chipilly  village  there  were  some  baths  alongside  of  the 
canal,  where  our  men  had  a  hot  bath  and  a  change  of  under- 
clothes, and  ioo  yards  away  was  an  open  swimming  bath, 
where,  when  time  permitted,  our  men  splashed  about  in  the 
water,  and  those  who  could  enjoyed  a  good  swim. 

Our  tents  in  the  wood  were  undermined  by  moles,  and 
occasionally  they  would  appear  above  ground,  much  to  the 
amusement  of  the  men. 

One  morning  my  batman  found  one  of  them  who  had  made 
himself  quite  snug  in  my  slipper.  He  suffered  the  penalty  for 
trespassing,  was  duly  executed,  his  skin  cured  and  sent  to 
London. 

The  magnificent  view  of  the  Somme  and  the  lagoons  we  had 
from  the  wood  seemed  to  elevate  all  our  minds,  and  it  stirred 
some  of  us  on  still  further,  for  a  few  of  the  officers  managed  to 
get  a  boat  and  row  from  one  lagoon  to  another  until  they 
reached  Sailly  Lorette.  On  their  way  some  of  them  indulged 
in  a  swim,  whilst  the  others  prepared  tea,  which  was  afterwards 
enjoyed  in  true  picnic  style. 

Another  day  two  of  us  paddled  up  again  to  the  same  place 
and  then  back  by  moonlight.     It  was  truly  a  delightful  trip. 

With  regard  to  amusement  for  the  men,  they  were  not  at  all 
neglected,  for  we  arranged  cinema  shows,  concerts  and  football 
matches  during  our  stay  in  the  wood.  The  last  open-air 
concert  was  a  very  successful  one,  nearly  all  officers  and  men 
attending. 


BEFORE  THE  SOMME  BATTLE,   1916    387 

In  the  afternoons  when  the  men  happened  to  be  free  they 
would  indulge  in  a  little  fishing  down  on  the  Somme  lagoons 
in  the  valley  below,  and  sometimes  I  believe  they  were  rewarded 
by  good  catches. 

However,  we  were  soon  to  leave  our  home  of  natural  splen- 
dour and  go  further  afield  to  school  ourselves  into  the  gentle 
art  of  defeating  the  enemy. 

We  had  orders  to  move,  so  we  packed  all  our  belongings  and 
marched  to  the  station,  where  we  entrained  for  the  villages  of 
Ailly-sur-Somme  and  Picquigny,  just  a  little  south  of  Amiens. 
D  Company  were  very  comfortable  and  happy  at  the  former 
place,  and  the  rest  of  the  battalion  at  the  latter. 

After  a  few  days  D  Company  joined  the  remainder  of  the 
battalion  at  Picquigny  and  then,  in  conjunction  with  the  rest 
of  the  brigade,  went  through  five  days  of  hard  training.  The 
section  of  the  German  line  we  were  to  attack  at  the  beginning 
of  the  great  offensive  was  almost  exactly  reproduced  on  the 
ground  near  Ailly-sur-Somme,  and  on  this  we  rehearsed  for  the 
day  itself. 

They  were  hard  days,  but  that  we  did  not  mind  so  much, 
for  at  the  end  of  it  all  the  real  thing  was  to  come  for  which  we 
had  waited  so  long,  and  then  we  were  to  have  the  honour  of 
being  one  of  the  assaulting  battalions. 

On  the  day  itself  every  available  man  would  be  wanted  in 
the  attack,  so  accordingly  every  man  was  sent  out  to  the 
training  ground. 

On  June  —  we  had  orders  to  move,  and  in  the  early  hours 
of  morning  we  marched  in  full  marching  order,  and  carrying 
a  supply  of  bombs,  to  Ailly,  where  we  entrained  for  Heilly,  in 
the  forward  area. 

The  march  to  Ailly  was  not  entirely  a  pleasant  one,  and  I 
suppose  the  early  hour  of  the  day  and  the  heavy  load  we 
carried  accounted  for  anything  but  a  pleasing  or  easy  march. 

Our  train  journey  was  very  slow,  as  seems  usual  in  France, 
and  we  reached  our  destination  and  detrained  by  about  11  a.m. 

Then  we  proceeded  on  a  march  to  Bray,  where  we  were  to  be 
billeted  for  a  night  or  two,  and  then  up  to  the  firing  line. 

On  our  way  we  halted  for  an  hour  for  a  meal  just  off 
the  Bray-Corbie  road,  where  the  Morlancourt-Chipilly  road 
meets  it. 

Our  meal  finished,  we  cleared  up  and  continued  our  journey 
to  billets,  which  were  reached  by  6  p.m. 

c  c  2 


388    ROYAL   FUSILIERS   IN   THE  GREAT   WAR 

Our  stay  in  Bray  was  a  brief  one,  for  on  the  23rd  we  left  in 
the  early  morning  for  Carnoy. 

Whilst  we  were  here  an  army  order  was  issued  that  all 
officers  were  to  be  equipped  as  much  like  the  men  as  possible, 
and  accordingly  we  went  and  interviewed  the  Q.M.,  who 
served  us  out  with  Tommies'  tunics.  We  put  them  on.  They 
felt  strange,  and  we  looked  very  funny  in  them,  for  they  were 
really  too  short.  We  laughed  ourselves,  and  everybody  laughed 
when  they  saw  us.  However,  we  complied  with  the  army  order 
and  had  a  good  deal  of  fun  out  of  it.  Several  times  in  the 
trenches  the  men  would  mistake  their  officers  for  other  Tom- 
mies and  would  say  such  things  as  "  After  you  with  the  mug, 
mate  !  "  "  Give  us  a  light,  Bill,"  which  highly  amused  the 
parties  concerned. 

June  2yd. — We  arrived  at  Carnoy  and  found  it  a  hive  of 
industry.  Everybody  was  working  ;  shells  of  all  sorts  and 
sizes  were  being  brought  up